I have been doing a lot of proofreading which makes me think of what Kelli said recently on her blog.
I have been looking around and I am reminded that while I do not save my rejections in a drawer like some of the people she mentions, I do not dwell upon them in any negative way. I submit and I happily accept whatever comes my way. But right now I would like to build a little bit on what she spoke of. I would like to talk about the successes we have versus the successes we perceive.
If you have been a follower of my blog, you know pessimism comes naturally to me. Well, not today, and not for a while. Why? Because I have been confronted with the reality that I have been quite successful as a poet as of late, and what's more, the evidence of that success trumps anything I might feel about my success.
As I write this, I have two, yes two, books going through the final stages of being proofed and readied for publication. The first book is Hobble Creek Almanac, soon to be out from Aldrich Press. The second is my book, Sailing This Nameless Ship, which is being released by BlazeVox and their Kindle Editions series.
Now I haven't written much poetry for the past several months, nor have I even tried to submit poetry for even longer than that, yet on Sunday, a poem of mine will appear in Heron Tree, and soon, five of my poems from Hobble Creek Almanac, will be appearing in Weber-The Contemporary West. Now, I could concentrate on all of the places my poetry has not appeared, or wonder why some poets are seemingly showered in praise while my work goes mostly unnoticed. However, I will not do either, because if I was to do those things I would be ignoring the fact that in three short years time (2011-2013) I will have had a chapbook and three full length manuscripts of poetry published. That's a number I never thought I would see. That's a number I find astonishing. It's the sort of number that flies in the face of anything I could attempt to label as failure.
What I keep thinking, what stays with my thoughts is as I look back over this past week or so is this sort of thing doesn't happen to me. I am still a little overwhelmed at the thought of refuting my own narrative regarding my efforts as a poet. I keep thinking about all of the things I think of as hallmarks for success, all of the things which are happening for me, and all I can wonder is how did I build a gap so wide. And that's what it is. It's a cognitive dissonance I am just now beginning to resolve. Why? Regardless of my pessimism, I have found editors who not only publish my work, but have thought enough of it to merit multiple publications of manuscripts. Now I may still want to break into specific markets, but as for reaching an audience, it is absolutely clear I have achieved a great deal of success.
The writer, right or wrong, always writes. And though it will most likely take a while, I am learning how to see my successes for what they are, and see through the transparency of my failures, knowing neither one defines me as a writer.