Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hitting the Wall

72º ~ on our way up to 90 or so, should be that way for the foreseeable future ~ no rain today or in the next week, just endless days of "Mostly Sunny"

from Creative Commons, click for link
 Yesterday, I hit the wall.  That was day 12, and it served to remind me that brain work is tiring work.  No, I haven't been working ten hours in the heat and sun, but each day when I've finished writing and reading and commenting, I've been tired.  Yesterday, I never fully woke up.  Everything felt wrong from the get-go, and even the cats were out of sync, sleeping when we normally play and vice versa. 

So, I spent the morning trying to organize the series, make revisions, and prepare for submitting some poems.  I kept my BIC, b/c I am nothing if not stubborn.  I do have something to show for the several hours of slogging: five sets of poems divided and ready to be sent to any number of lit mags.  Back in the day, I used to send each packet to up to 10 places (those that accepted simultaneous submissions, of course); however, in the last year or so, I've lowered that number to 5, as I've had more success and sending out withdrawal notices took up so much time.

There it is, that pesky word, time.  Several of my poet-friends have brought this up recently, the time it takes to send the poems out there, the time it takes to record where the poems have gone and later the results.  It's true, in order to be successful in getting the poems out into the world where they might be read, one must devote nearly as much time to the business/secretary work as to the creative work.  Thank goodness for online and email submissions, which do seem to cut down on the minutes spent in this labor.

In order to begin the process yesterday, I had to first record the two rejections that came in over the last few weeks.  I am at a nearly all time low for having things out there, so I'm not swamped with rejections.  One of the two rejections was the typical form note on a 2-inch-square sheet of paper.  Sigh.  However, the other, was an email that included a specific comment.  The editors took the time to praise the poems (a handful of sickly speaker poems) as "highly imagined" and "interesting" but they felt like the poems needed "a title that would give the speaker's situation" more clearly.  Ahhh. 

This was a discussion I had just had with one of my poet friends who had read some of the sickly speaker poems mid-stream, but who doesn't log in and read the blog much. Her response was much the same, in that she wondered which of the poems would stand alone and which would need more context.  We had already kicked around the idea of being super selective about the grouping of poems as I sent them out into the world, and now I have this added advice from those two kind editors. 

As I work on submissions, I'm going to include an overarching title for the groups, something along the lines of "from the book-length narrative, Fever of Unknown Origin."  I'm still kicking that title around.  I'm wondering if it should be Suffering a Fever of Unknown Origin, but then I remember that some folks don't like the long titles.  I also have What Blooms Beyond the Marrow and The Alchemy of My Mortal Form, but it seems like those last two aren't clear enough for communicating the speaker's situation. 

Hmmmm, more brainwork. 


Kathleen said...

I understand your exhaustion. Also, these reflections on title, context, and submission are very helpful and enlightening, another strand of your marvelous process notes.

Dry and sunny here, too, with no rain predicted till Tuesday and ever-rising temps... I'm glad I start each day swimming!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Ah, Kathleen, thanks for reading and for commenting.

Hooray for morning swim time.