Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Numbers Set Me Back on My Heels

56º ~ while luxuriating in these days of warmth & sun, a subtle sadness permeates as there is this evidence of climate change, note (the lack of leaves on the trees means the sun has unfettered access and swaths the desk & my body

As I've aged, I've come to realize that I'm not really a resolution person.  At one point, a therapist commented that I was one of the most self-aware people she had ever counseled.  I do not say this to brag.  For whatever reason, nature/nurture/astrology/etc., I'm the type of person who is almost constantly aware of my imperfections, and I've fought hard to loosen my grip on my attempts at perfection, which were more harmful than helpful. 

Still, there are goals I keep in front of me all year round.
1. To slow down and push back against this speed-hungry & product-driven world.
2. To be kind & patient with those I love and with those who are acquaintances or even strangers.  
3. To read & support my fellow poets by buying their books, subscribing to journals, or using the library.
4.  "To live live deep and suck out all the marrow of life" a la H. D. Thoreau.

I do like the way the close of a year provides a chance to reflect and celebrate.  Here are my numbers.

42 poems drafted ~ This number set me back on my heels, in fact, almost set me spinning off my chair.  I am thrilled with this number, given the summer of troubles we had and the fact that I launched a reading series this year.  Thrilled!

1 reading series launched ~ Of course, I had lots of help from colleagues and friends, and I am thankful for each and every one. 

56 rejections ~ This number reflects the journals rather than individual poems.  I usually send 4 - 5 poems in a packet, and if even 1 poem is accepted, that's recorded as an acceptance, so the other 3 - 4 poems would have been rejected.  It's fuzzy math to be sure.  Doing the multiplication sets me back on my heels as well.

20 acceptances ~ Again, this number reflects journals.  All together, 33 poems were accepted as some journals accepted more than one poem at a time.  Again, I'm THRILLED with this number and so happy to know my poems are finding good homes out there in the world.  Thank you all for the support through the drafting stages and beyond.

10 hours per week ~ my average time (during the academic year) at the desk of the Kangaroo working on drafting, revising, manuscript ordering, submissions, reading, blogging, and recording acceptances/rejections.  Slightly higher in the summer.


As 2011 comes to a close, I hope you all are warm, happy, & well-fed.  May 2012 bring us all more victories than defeats, more laughter & love than tears & grief, and more time with poetry than with the dirty laundry gathering in piles around the house.


drew said...

Sandy -
Congratulations on a productive and successful year (by many measures).

I appreciate your resistance to resolutions. I feel much the same. It seems your honest self-awareness is resolution enough:

"I'm the type of person who is almost constantly aware of my imperfections, and I've fought hard to loosen my grip on my attempts at perfection."

You set a wonderful example, in poetry and practice.

Thank you,

Tawnysha Greene said...

Those are some impressive numbers! Congrats on all your success this year!

Kathleen said...

Happy New Year to you! I love your self awareness, verbal or mathematical!

Michelle said...

Hi, Sandy.

Your numbers are so impressive! My numbers would all be about loads of laundry and numbers of graded papers. Blah.

I heard bits of the Diane Rehm show yesterday, and I thought of your dad's recent surgery. I thought you might be interested if you didn't already hear it:

You'll be getting our holiday letter in the mail . . . soon.

Happy 2012 to you, dear friend!


Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Drew, Tawnysha, and Kathleen.

Michelle, thanks for the link. I look forward to the letter and hearing about your family's year. Lots of numbers there!

Molly said...

Sandy, I echo Drew's and others' thanks -- I learn from you, the highs and lows you share, your honest explorations of writing craft and the writing life. And I also echo their congratulations!

And I have to laugh at the last line of your post about piles of laundry -- I've been walking around all day with a view of my (overflowing) laundry hamper, a new draft tucked in the resting drawer, thinking 'this is exactly how it should be.' :)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Excellent work, Molly. Glad to know there's a new draft tucked into the drawer. Happy writing in 2012.

Martha Silano said...

20 acceptances -- my word! You are an inspiration!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Martha! Congrats on being included in Fire on Her Tongue.

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

Those four goals should apply to all of us.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Q. Hope all is well with you and yours this New Year's Eve.

Jeannine said...

Happy New Year's to you, Sandy!