I am talking specifically about my manuscript, Sailing This Nameless Ship, and my current manuscript in progress about my home town of Springville, Utah. Now, I know on some level you are sick and tired of listening to me talk about these two projects, but this is part of my process. So if you've had enough of me talking about them you should feel free to leave this blog.
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Recently I received some really good notes for Nameless Ship. A poet friend read it for me and gave me some really wonderful advice and specific edits. I have already made a lot of those changes and I have to sit and think regarding the others related to structure. One suggestion is regarding making a longer poem out of a series of themed poems. If I do that, the entire structure of the poem needs to be changed. Now I am not opposed to changing the structure. In fact, I am more nervous about the prospect of a long poem than I am about the restructuring of an entire manuscript. I realized my fear while reading Sandy's post on the subject. I am not a long poem kind of poet, and I am always afraid the wheels might fall off the poem and losing the reader as a consequence. I have written very few long-ish poems (which are not long at all) and every one of them makes me nervous.
I also have to get used to the idea I need to start submitting it again. I need to bite the bullet and start researching presses again and sending it out for consideration. No matter how I try, I can't blindly submit this book to every contest under the sun. I will also be honest when I say this book is a strong candidate for a self-publishing crossover for me. More than a third of the poems have been published in journals, and one was actually nominated for Sundress Best of the Net. There are a few small prosy bits I still need to fix, and I will give presses another go around. However, if I find no joy (hereafter defined by any positive feedback, not necessarily acceptance for publication) I am going to learn a few things from people I know about the process of a good book experience at Lulu, and do it up right myself. It isn't a lack of patience, either. I need to get the manuscript out of my system. I need to find out if I wasted more than a year of my life. Well, that's not entirely accurate. According to most of the known universe I did waste m time. It's not about fame, either. Here's what I have to say about that:
Being a famous poet is like being the most popular member of an AA meeting without all of the perks, like stale coffee and regimented sobriety.
My Springville book is coming along. I haven't written new poems for it in the last week or so because I have been trying to write songs as lyricist for a group started by a couple friends. Boy, and I a terrible song writer! I finally penned a Scott Walker clone, though it's probably a clone of the guy who Scott Walker covered extensively in his first two solo albums. I forget that guy's name.
I really am making progress, though. I have 33 poems written and a solid picture of what the book is supposed to look like in its finished form. My one hindrance still remains: The narrative poem. Some days I lie to myself, claiming my short, lyric poems weave a narrative tapestry, which serves to tell a story, but the fact remains I cannot write a decent narrative poem to save my life. Lord knows I have tried, but I cannot get blood out of this old turnip, and I really should stop trying because it is rather embarrassing to watch.
Still, I shouldn't have problems getting this book published eventually. A lot of people tell me I am lucky to have the people at Foothills Publishing, and they are right of course, but I will be submitting it elsewhere, too. With four books out from Foothills already, I do not want them to think I can just send them anything and they will jump to. My biggest obstacle with this manuscript so far, has been a universal lack of interest in any of the individual poems I have been sending out. So much so, I have actually stopped sending any of them out to anyone. That is, until I can finish more of the poems which are supposed to be in the final section of the book. The fact is the first two sections of the book are very much like a concept album (strictly for the analogy because as I stated earlier, I am a terrible song writer) and the appeal is not entirely there. I don't want to give too much away too soon, but the closest structural element to a traditional book of poems this manuscript comes to is it's three primary sections.
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Well, that's enough from me. You've all got better things to do I'm sure.