Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reader, I am Resolved

44º ~ a drop in the temps last night reminded us it is winter, but a return to warmer climes and bright sun today fool us again

Yesterday, I spent several intense hours with my weather manuscript, the title of which is now in shortened form: Such Weather as This.  Here is a brief outline of those hours.

~ take current manuscript out of binder and toss on the futon
~ print any fairy tale poems I might consider including & toss on the futon
~ check on any random poems that don't fit the sickly speaker series that have not been included in the weather book previously, print a couple & toss on the futon
~ mix well (this was harder than I thought as papers like to stick together, esp. those that have been grouped in a binder for six months)
~ reform (hah! re-form?) poems into stacks of like-minded work
~ remember that all of the folks who have seen the manuscript have advocated a non-linear approach to themes and arcs, go for some "random" element to order
~ pause to take care of some laundry
~ get out the card table and begin re-grouping the poems, giving no thought to previous order (this was last part was easier than I thought, as I was able to ignore the page numbers already printed on certain poems more than I thought I would be able to)
~ become greatly frustrated with self for wanting to tell a linear story
~ weave in a few fairy tale poems but keep noticing how different they are in texture and tone, being that they are solidly narrative and the rest of the book is lyric
~ finally gather up the new order
~ pause to return to the laundry
~ return to desk and do a "save as" on the last version of the mss., creating the next version and inputting the results of my manual labor
~ copy, cut, & paste; copy, cut, & paste; repeat, repeat, repeat, & etc.
~ notice again how the fairy tale poems don't fit, except one -- "Midwest Nursery Tales," which is the most lyric of them all and the least reliant on the "Once upon a time" opening
~ abandon new version of file and go back to the one before
~ make toast with butter & peanut butter because that's how I like it and "gluttony" is my middle name
~ remove three poems that didn't make the cut during the "new order"
~ add "Midwest Nursery Tales"
~ move three existing poems around given what was learned from the "new order"
~ revise table of contents (something I always do by hand b/c it helps me see the order of the poems in the big picture)
~ print out new version of the version before the big shuffle and call it a day
~ reward self by going to neighborhood frou-frou salad & pizza restaurant & get a "Santa Fe" with extra dressing

19th c. weather balloon, click for link
And now, Reader, I am resolved.  I will send out this manuscript for six more months to finish out the academic year of reading periods & contests.  If there are no offers for publication after that, then these poems are going in the drawer for a bit.  After all, the manuscript is in its third year of circulation, and while I have changed the order and the title and shifted a few poems here and there, it is largely the same book.  It is hard to justify the time and expense of sending it out over and over to places that have already seen it.  Yes, I've made it to the semi-finalist and finalist phase a few times, but at some point, I feel I need to give myself completely to the next project (the sickly speaker).  Also, I do know that many contests change readers each year, but I'm guessing that the overall aesthetic remains about the same. 

So, today, I will prepare my packets for five publishers and send this chunk of poems out into the weather once again.  Hopeful & pragmatic at the same time.


Kathleen said...

I paused to giggle at laundry and attend to some of my own! I also giggled, and am giggling still, at the peanut butter. (Really, I can't stop giggling. Tears are coming to my eyes.) But this is very sensible, and I so appreciate the process notes. I hope I can apply them to myself. With peanut butter.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Glad you found the humor there, Kathleen. It makes me giggle, too!

Shawnte Orion said...

That process can probably be considered a cardio workout.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Shawnte, I wish the mental workout burned as many calories as a physical one! Still, I did move around a bit, shuffling papers and all. :)

Molly said...

Go Sandy! Love the blow-by-blow of the process. I think your culinary rewards are well-deserved (p.s. I am also a butter & peanut butter gal)

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Molly!