Thursday, October 27, 2011

Too much work

One of the things I seem to rebelling about in this world of poetry is how there is always something I seem to be forgetting.  No matter how much I do, how much I seem to get through and over with, I always find something I am not doing.  Maybe what I am feeling right now is an overload and instead of concentrating on the fact I am not doing much writing, perhaps try to see if there is any energy I am diverting away from writing which is going to the unnecessary.

I joined Good Reads, but i don't know how it all works, and how I am supposed to keep up with what's on my shelf, what I am reading now, which books I need to go through and rate, making friends like on Facebook, and uploading book covers.  Recently I stumbled back into Good Reads and noticed one of my books was credited as having been written by someone else entirely.  I had to plead ignorance and have a friend fix it for me.  Apparently I'm a nobody over at Good Reads because I don't have editor status.  Other friends have graciously added book photos and informed me of good feedback, but I am simply lost.

I joined Facebook and I love learning about new presses and 'friending' them.  After, I research them and decide if I am going to submit to them.  I like thinking I am gathering this information because I will gladly pass it on to anyone who is asking for a direction to go.  But that's only the start of it.  I enjoy being a part of the writer community on FB, and some of my on-line writer friends and I share more than 100 common friends.  Wow!  How could you not like networking like that?  But wait, there's more!  I also have an "author page" and a page for my press, Hobble Creek Review, which adds a whole new dimension to this creative life of mine.

I also have a page on Google +.  Is that awesome or what?  No,  I'm serious.  Is it awesome, or am I the butt of some horrible practical joke?  Google+ seems to be a bridge too far for me.  I an't tell you how many requests I get for Linkedn (I think I have half a profile thee, but I must admit I would rather poke a hot needle in my eye than ever go back), and of course there's Twitter.  Next week, we will be all feeling the pressure to join in on Conference Call, the new app that lets you talk to as many friends as you can at once.

It really gets to be too much.  How many people have 'liked' my pages? How many people are talking about my pages? How many virgins have been sacrificed to my Facebook image in hopes of a better harvest?

I am also tired of reading about the big C&C: Craft and Criticism.  I have talked about being snow blind, and I am in the middle of that right now.  I cannot sit down and really enjoy reading right now.  There are a few poets I can read no matter what, but for the most part, the new books I have purchased (both books of poetry and books on theory/criticism) have yielded me nothing.  Dean Young's Fall Higher and Collin Kelley's Slow to Burn seem to be the exceptions.  Most everything else in poetry I can read and see an intellectual aesthetic, but nothing is punching me in the gut.  As for criticism, I am simply unable to comprehend what I am reading.  I honestly cannot follow what is being said.  What's more, I know on some level, and for some portion, the fault lies with me, not the poets.

And then there is all of the competition between poets.  We keep saying we want to be a community and we want to support each other, but what do we do instead?  We submit in secret.  We hide submission calls  to new journals and anthologies, pray our poet friends don't find out about  that new book contest from the new press we found by way of "insider information."  I know I have been guilty to some extent, keeping secret the places I submit my book manuscripts to, and after all, some secrecy is alright.  I mean, I did all the work.  I researched and I figured out which presses were a good fit, and I should benefit from that.  But is that all there is to it?  rarely do I ever see anyone talk about an anthology's submission call.  More times than not I read about somebody getting accepted or receiving their contributor copy.  The fact is I believe it is too much work to be a poet with everything I have to learn, creating a total world profile, and simply learning my craft, to have to still put up with the competition other poets throw in my face.

It is simply all too much work for me, and I keep coming back to the idea of just giving some of it or all of it up for the solitude of what I had five or six years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Justin,
    I think you might like two books I am in the process of currently reviewing: Steve Fellner's The Weary World Rejoices and Brian Spears' A Witness in Exile. Both are direct, accessible, and the first has some great poems about disillusionment with the poetry world and the second about growing away from the Jehovah's Witness church that I think you might really like.