It’s been a busy week for me. While I’m “unemployed” at this time (i.e., there ain’t a paycheck in sight), I spend my time working at my crafts. I have to split my time between code work, job searching, poetry writing, and the “pilgrimage” I’m on to explore this larger world I’ve inhabited for so long, but in such a small way. I call it my “walk-about.” So, I go to a variety of conferences and technical talks to learn, listen, and meet people working in my professional field.
I don’t do this with writing or writer’s groups. Why, you ask? Because most writers I’ve worked with just want to hear expressions of appreciation for their own work. There are only rare individuals who want to, or can manage, direct, blunt commentary on their work. Me, I need blunt commentary. I can’t “see” my defects during the drafting process. Now, if I come back to a piece after six months, a year, or more – then I can “see” more clearly what needs to be cut, reworded, rethought, or maybe just the whole thing tossed into the trash can. But in the heat of the drafting process, which is the same week, month, quarter, or even half – year of the initial inspiration of the piece. No. I can’t see clearly at that point. So, that might actually be another reason why I don’t submit. I’ve needed this time to gain perspective on the work I wrote 10 – 13 years ago. Still, the writer’s groups I’ve attended while in “meat-time” have been less than clear, without technical precision. And no, I’m not interested in a master’s progragm. Gah. I can read and I can write. Give me correspondence over lectures any day.
And then there’s the writer’s get-aways. That’s almost too precious for me to credit. If I won one, I’d go check it out, but I’ve created my own nest, so traveling to write is usually more bother than productive for me. My husband is fine with leaving me alone to the quiet of my office, to the emptiness of my space. I sit at my comfortable desk with the large window in front of me open and I hear the beat of the hummingbird’s wings, or the heavy “thuk! thuk!” of the pigeons walking on my roof.
Today is “working on my poetry” day. I’ve been asked to send two pieces to the ERWA summer gallery and I’ve got to get my Rattle submission prepped. Working to prepare submissions is not one of my strongest skills. First, I have to actually care about the publisher and for erotic work, that’s quite, quite limited. There’s a lot of vanity publishers available, there’s a lot of crap websites. Anyone can post anything, but if you’re working on poetry as a literary endeavor, those publishers have seen more dreck than quality and so shy away.
I wrote about Rattle before. They’ve just put up a new challenge, so if you’re stumped for a topic, go check this out. It’s also a great way for you to familiarize yourself with a reputable publisher, and what good writing looks like.
And what does “good writing” look like to you? What poems have you read by people who aren’t dead or famous? Do you carry someone else’s words around with you? What are your thoughts about the poems in this month’s Rattle? Could you riff off any of the pieces and make any of them more sexual? What makes for weak writing in erotic poetry? What do you think makes for stronger work?
Now for me to get back to my paperwork.