Some notes and thoughts about life in the writing lane.
I continue to work through what I'd like to call the "final unprofessional edit" of my BWCA book with my Thursday night colleagues at AllWriters. We have one week left in this session and then another starts up on May 30th and runs 12 weeks. As I've mentioned before, this run-through has been really good. It is giving a (somewhat) objective audience a start-to-finish look at the book. At the same time, this group is probably the most critical group the book will ever see, from a reader's standpoint. This gives the book a thorough check for facts, timelines, content, clarity and structure.
In the class we've actually had a couple of students (there's 5 of us) finish their "final unprofessional edit." One has moved on to her next book and another has decided to run through the start again. We writers are nothing if not thorough. We're like compulsive fire-pokers, we just keep futzin'. Typically someone needs to jump in and say "Okay, I think you're done now."
In regards to my latest fixation, MidWest Outdoors Magazine, I had a nice full page article in their May issue. Their deal with publishing your work is they never really tell you that it's going to be published. It just kind of shows up. Then, usually the next day, you get a check in the mail. It's always a bit of a shock, but in a pleasant kind of way. To their credit, they do say if they don't like the piece, they will send it back within two weeks.
I was so happy to see that they accepted my article, that I got to work right away on the next piece. I finished it last week and had my expert editor give it the once over. Then, after fact checking with my brother, I got the pictures together and submitted it last night. The piece is about the history of musky fishing in my family, how it got started, etc. It finishes out with the musky I caught on Rob's birthday in 2011. The good news is that I got word today that while it was too late for the June issue, they are considering it for the July issue. Sweet it is!
Today, I also got my replacement copy of Torrid Literature's Volume VI. One of the three they sent me was crumpled a bit, so they were kind enough to replace it. The upside to it was when they sent the confirmation that it was in the mail, they asked if it was OK if they used my poem "Going Back" in their Volume VII edition. Of course I told them that it was absolutely fine. They had actually asked me this about a week ago, but it was still nice to hear them ask again.
Coming up soon is the AllWriters' retreat, June 6-9. I am really looking forward to this event! It is a great chance to immerse myself in a writer's world for four days. I didn't make it last year, but made a conscious effort to make it a priority this year. There's so much to like about it, but actually my favorite part is the seclusion and the "priority" given to writing, first and foremost. I plan on maximizing that time and working on new material, which brings me to my last point.
On the back burner for some time has been what I want to call my "second book." We all know though, that you can't have a second without a first. But when my first is done, and it will be done, soon enough, there will be a second. It is to be a book about the house I grew up in. Growing up with 5 siblings in a mostly single-parent household had its moments. Lots of moments.
My goal with the still-phantom second book is to capture the best (and the worst) of those moments and give people a feel for what a good old fashion Catholic big family was like in the 1970's. Part of me can't wait to get back into it, but I realize that if I were to jump to it right now, it would be like leaving the BWCA book in the car with the windows rolled up in the summer heat. Not good.
Poems come and go. I get them down when they come, but I really need my Wednesday Night crowd to critique them and iron them out. Maybe in the fall or next winter.
And so, life in the writing lane is chugging along. Most days it's like a commute, with stops and starts. Other days, like today, it's more like a superhighway. And of course there are some days where it's a freakin' parking lot. Goin' nowhere. As long as the commutes are more frequent than the parking, I'll keep at it.