72º a bit cloudy but not overbearingly so, beautiful breezes and open windows
*warning: exclamation points used with abandon beyond this point
Dear Friends, it has finally happened. The good news email arrived yesterday morning from Richard Krawiec at Jacar Press, just as I was about to enter one of those amazing professional development meetings that clutter the week before classes begin. The poet Stuart Dischell (oh my gosh, Stuart Dischell!) chose The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths as the winner of the 2013 Jacar Press Full Length Poetry Book Contest!
Yes, this is the press that I mentioned here. I had learned in June that the manuscript was a finalist and had set about waiting out the news of the results. In a strange twist of coincidence, I had just announced to C. and to my mom last week that I was resigned to the news being negative, sure as I was that someone else must have won. The coincidence part is that just before I heard the good news from Rick Campbell at Anhinga about Blood Almanac, I'd said the same thing. Hmmmm, patience not my strong suit? I think not. Also, this "preparing for the worst" mentality is very much a Midwestern trait.
Aside from that, I can tell that this adventure with Jacar is going to happen quickly. I'm set to proof the text, and Richard and I have already started having those conversations about cover design, press releases, review copies, readings, and etc. that go into making and launching a book. I'm so glad I've already had the experience once, so I know what I'm talking about. I'm also thrilled by the speed given that this manuscript has been the bridesmaid for so long that the quicker I can get her down the aisle as the bride, the happier I will be!
In addition, yesterday was incredibly different from finding out about Blood Almanac because my poetry world has grown considerably thanks to this blog and Facebook. When I found out about BA, it was 8:30 p.m. on a school night, and C. was already "resting his eyes" in front of the History Channel. He woke long enough to absorb the news, and then I called my mom, who was also headed for bed. Then, I wrote a group email to a handful of close friends and failed to sleep at all that night b/c there wasn't anyone who wanted to stay up all night and celebrate with me. (In C.'s defense, having to face a full day of high school teaching the next day, he needed to sleep.)
Yesterday, the news came mid-morning and Richard had announced it on Facebook before I could blink twice, and re-read his congratulatory email for the tenth time to be sure it was real. C. was then able to interrupt a PD meeting of his own to announce the news to his colleagues and administration (blush from afar), and my mom was ecstatic, especially later in the day when we had a chance to really talk it all over. Many of you were on FB and helped celebrate with me. All thanks. It really does make the moment sweeter. Special, extra thanks to all of you reading this blog and on FB who have shepherded me through these rough last few months of book despair! I am so lucky to be a part of this big, wide world or poetry!
It turns out Jacar Press is perfect for me; after all, it defines itself as a "community-active literary press" and part of the profits of the book will go to a non-profit, and I get to help pick the group. Wow! The press funds writing workshops in underserved communities and does all kinds of other fantastic things to promote literacy and poetry. (Can I get a Wahoooooooooooooooooooo, sister?) I am eager beyond words to begin, and so I shall.
While I do not wish the long wait and many years of submitting on anyone, I'm here to tell you that persistence almost always wins. When you get that positive feedback time and time again, but just miss the goal, keep going!