Working At It

So, I've been fairly quietly shopping around my latest poetry collection, Thoughts From A Line At The DMV, to various publishers. I had it out to 14 different small presses in two different forms, a full collection and a pared-down chapbook. A few of the submissions required a "reading fee" and a couple were contests. These are always exciting times once a submission  has been sent, a time of waiting and expectancy.

On Tuesday, I got an email with the subject "Kelsay Books acceptance." Now, it's hard to describe the excitement at seeing an email like that in my inbox. I opened it to opening lines which read:

"Thank you for your excellent poetry submission, Thoughts From A Line At The DMV. We would love to publish your book!"

Well, someone pinch me.

The details are very sketchy at this early stage, but I do know that it should be published sometime in 2019. I also know that Kelsay Books is a highly respected publisher of quality, beautiful books. I am lucky to be working with them. It is dreamlike.

I can say that the book is comprised of 50 poems and they are among some of my best. Many of them have been previously published in magazines and journals, which is always a selling point when marketing a full collection. There is a fair amount of humor, some serious bits and even a few sad ones.

Poetry to me has become my tool for becoming a better nonfiction writer. It forces me to be a minimalist with my words and allows for a whole lot more creativity than straight creative nonfiction. And for a guy who always said he really didn't consider himself a poet, well, I've scrapped that thought. I can't imagine not writing it at some level. It gives me a satisfaction just like my nonfiction does.

That's not to say it's all good. The other night I opened Microsoft Word with the intention of writing a poem and after 15 minutes and two crappy lines, I shut the computer off and went to bed. It just wasn't there.

And the next day I started to fret about "losing my edge," and oh my God, what if I never write another good poem again? The jig is up!

The following evening night I managed to write a heart wrencher that reminded me that everything has a time and a place. We all have our good days and our bad days.

So now I will be publishing my sixth book in 5 years as a writer - granted, four of them are poetry books, so that's kind of cheating. Frankly, I'm kind of at a loss to describe how good this makes me feel. It has boosted my confidence in myself as a writer and a person. None of it is for lack of effort, but I also owe it to my family and an incredible network of creative people around me. The encouragement I get from family and friends, energizes me and keeps me plugging. So, thank you. You know who you are.

At the same time, I'm working hard at it because I know time is short. None of us owns tomorrow, so I want to write like there is none. I still say this is the legacy the death of my brother Rob left to me. We need to live hard, love harder and take each day for the blessing it is.

Blogging off...


Jo Balistreri said…
Dear JIM,,

Really relish that wonderful feeling of being affirmed as a writer. it’s amazingwhat
you have accomplished and you deserve to be feeling mighty good.
congratulations once again. Very happy for you.


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