amongst books

amongst books

Friday, October 29, 2010

writing, rejection and that damn Gremlin


lots of work sent out and rejected of late. i write to write but i share to share. i want to share work that connects with at least one other human being. lately i’ve been playing around with prose poems with more than my usual narrative thread. perhaps i am not pushing them far enough. perhaps they could be more compelling, more surprising. i’ll definitely work on that.

i remind myself that finding a publication match is not unlike finding a love match. it’s a shot in the dark. sometimes there’s just no chemistry. do you change yourself to fit with expectations of what a potential love might want or do you try to find someone who loves you for who you are?

i’d rather find the right fit and make reasonable changes based on a good editor’s advice.

to a certain extent being obscure is very freeing. you can write whatever the hell you want and never hear a negative word about it; however, i want work i write to be out in the world and i want people to critically engage with it.

not everything. some of my poems and fiction out there are such raging howlers and probably more will be in the future. but i have to set aside my ego. so i tried something and it failed. that’s life. to fail is not as bad as to not try, no? others might find something in my failure to inspire their own writing and make something better. that’s the duende for you.

i also enjoy reading my stuff in public, something i’ve barely done this year. it’s another form of connection with people and it helps me to improve. i like reading current and older work too. i learn a lot from it. i also like hearing others read.

at times i’m weirded out by what others see as prize-worthy or laudable writing. i’m not one to put a creative person on a pedestal and i dislike general statements that involve the word should. i prefer to approach the work, my own and others, humbly and with respect. i prefer it when the work determines the voice, style, tone, form etc rather than any preconceived plan or opinion of mine.

sometimes after i’ve said something daft like “I don’t like end rhyme” I’ll suddenly have a voice that wants to be articulated as a Petrarchan sonnet. do you remember that episode of Twilight Zone where a passenger on a plane looks out the window and sees a Gremlin breaking off bits of the wing? that’s what writing is like for me. anytime i have an idea or some preconceived notion, that Gremlin comes along and takes a chunk out of my work. it’s a good thing, even if it’s unsettling.

i don’t want to please everyone with my writing, but i want someone to feel something, to be captivated, to be stirred, to have it provoke a thought or an emotion or inspiration for their own poetry, songs, stories, art, photography, etc.

once in a while someone has been inspired by a line, an image, a poem or a story of mine to use it as an inspiration for their own work and that’s the best response, in my opinion. so if my work isn’t out there; if i’m not reading in public, it can’t be used in that way. and that bugs me.

so these days i’m keeping a low profile. not necessarily by choice, but it doesn’t stop me from writing or sending stuff out. even if i may wince a wee bit when a rejection arrives in my in box. that damn Gremlin is smirking too much lately.

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