Thursday, June 06, 2013

on beginnings

I was thinking yesterday morning getting ready for work of how it's been 20 years since I first started writing (or at least trying to BE a writer in terms of submitting and drafting and sending things out into the world--horrible things, but attempts nevertheless.)      The summer I was 19, I was pretty much unencumbered by much else but my electric typewriter, my stack of Writer's Chronicle (I'd yet to discover Poets & Writers, which at the time was barely a skinny stapled black and white mag itself.) and messily composed drafts of poems on yellow legal pads or  flimsy translucent typing paper.(some of which I still have examples of I occasionally pull out for shits & giggles.).  I spent a lot of time running barefoot across my parent's lawn to the mailbox hoping for responses, sample mags, guidelines (there was no e-mail, no internet, so everything came via post and required SASE's).  A lot of time parked out on the deck with lemonade and peanut butter sandwiches.  I worked on a couple summer theatre projects occasionally, but most of my summers as an undergrad were similarly unencumbered (I was lucky that my education was pretty much funded through scholarships and grants, and I earned pocket money by doing household stuff for my mom.) There were some summers I barely wrote a thing, preferring instead to do mostly reading and loafing, but others where I was obsessed and worked constantly.  Sometimes, I'd kill for that amount of concentration and time now amidst 40 hour/wk day jobs,  press responsibilities, longish commutes, running to and fro.

But it's amazing it's actually been 20 years, and even though I sometimes feel like productivity is still a struggle sometimes, I have to say I've done a pretty good job of it all these years. Twenty years later and I've managed to generate and get a lot of work out there. Poems in journals and online.  A lot of books and chapbooks and book like things. Writing degrees and readings.    My work with the press and the journal.  All in all, it's been a pretty awesome 20 years despite the rather ragged and misguidedly clueless start.

And of course, so much work still to do,--projects midstride, ideas for manuscripts and series of poems/art.  While I've accomplished my most general goals in terms of whatever you consider this "career," which turned out even better than I ever imagined, there are always new things to move toward...

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