Friday, February 07, 2014

Today, there was actually blue out on the horizon of the lake, which may mean there is more water than ice & snow out there in all the sunlight, and that the old sun will prevail no matter how much winter keeps kicking our asses.  I was thinking on my way downtown about how 15 years ago, sometime this week (I would have to consult my paper journals to find the exact date) I got my very first real acceptance for a poem.  Actually for two poems from a tiny, saddle stapled local feminist zine (Moon Journal, who would later publish the first chap I put together.)  They were, of course, persona poems, what I was mostly writing then, one on Salem witches the other on the character Sin in Paradise Lost.  I had published before in college lit journals, in a couple of the less expensive vanity anthologies (oh Quill Books, do they even still exist?), but this was the first acceptance of a journal that vetted submissions in any way and I didn't know the editor personally.  In the following years, I placed a good number of poems in the journal, as well as the chapbook, which was also pretty much entirely persona poems (some found their way into the fever almanac, but most exist only in the shorter book.)

Today, I was looking at the ever-so lovely and new book and thinking about how far I've come as a writer, but also how the roots are still very much in a similar ground...much of girl show is persona work, probably more than any of my previous books, particularly in the second "Menagerie" section.  I was admiring the spines of the books and thinking about how that year of the first acceptance, 1999, was also the year I decided to really do this thing.  To really focus on the writing, to move away from my teaching plans or any of the other things I contemplated doing with my life in those early years.  15 years and 4 books later (not to mention the 5th book due next year and another nearing completion.), the whole scary intrepid decision to devote my life to it doesn't seem like such a crazy thing after all...Admittedly I still have moments where "being a poet"  seems akin to being a unicorn or a mermaid or perhaps the lochness monster, and something completely unreal and whispy and not at all an actual "career".  Something one does like birdwatching or macrame or collecting bottle tops, But with something to show for all of it as lovely as these books, it seems a little more real and a solid thing to do with one's time....

No comments: