So, it's been quite a month from a writing standpoint around here. It started with a couple of acceptances by a cool little publication out of Chicago called Coexistence. I'd heard about the journal from a Facebook friend of mine who is fond of my writing and made a point to reach out to the editor. He was then kind enough to reach out to me with a free copy of the journal and a nice personalized note soliciting my work. It's not often that an editor does something like that, so I was sure to follow through. I sent him a fiction story from my work-in-progress memoir, Cretin Boy, as well as a couple of new poems.
Within a couple of days, he wrote back accepting all three. Two for the September issue, and the third for a future issue. I was both grateful and a little shocked. He seems like a straight up guy, so I respect his judgement and am elated to be part of his publication.
Today I found out my poem, Unqualified, received an honorable mention for the WI Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters annual poetry contest.
Then, yesterday, I got some really great news. Big news. But news that will have to wait until the first of September, to announce. Again, the editor called me to tell me about it and was really forthright and nice. I'll post about it on Facebook when I've been given the green light.
And about a month ago I found out one of my poems was nominated to be included in a "Best of the Net Anthology." This is the closest I've come to a major recognition, so of course I was ecstatic. It is so nice to be recognized.
But this post is not intended to be all boastful. Rather, all of it is causing me to ask, How did I get here?
I am just incredibly lucky I am to be where I am with my "After 5:00 craft" these days. Trust me, I do not take for granted for one minute all the good fortune I seem to be having. I work hard at both my poetry and nonfiction, and part of that involves a ton of submissions. It is hard, sometimes thankless work. For every one of my acceptances, I receive on the order of two rejections. Frankly, if I was selling refrigerators, I'd be broke. (Well, I am anyway, but I'd be even more broke.)
All of this comes at the expense of other things and responsibilities in my life, but I feel led to push it as hard as I can. I am still trying to catch up for lost time. Time is precious, no one lives forever. My writing instructor has a coffee mug that has a quote on it that I sort of live by. It reads, Write like a M*****r F'er That's pretty much what I'm doing in my free time. Some might see it as kind of sad, but for me it is escape. Some escape in TV or sports, for me, it's right here in the glow of the laptop. If that makes me a loner/loser, well I'm okay with that. People like different things.
And finally, at the poetry reading last night at Mama D's it occurred to me the other intangible benefit of my writing, namely, the huge network of poets and writers that I've been exposed to. I am sworn to this pastime for the long term, if for nothing else, the great people that make up my peer network. So much support and encouragement. My life is immeasurably richer because the words I put to paper have brought me to this incredible resource of friends and acquaintances.
So as cliche as it is, and as much as some hate the term, I feel blessed to be able to write, rewrite, submit, and succeed. As always, my only regret is not starting sooner.
Instead of looking back with regret, I'll write like a...