Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Reschedule, Rejection, and Rhysling Nomination

My part of Wisconsin received about a foot of snow yesterday.  Instead of going to chemotherapy, I stayed home and watched a wall of white gobble the world.  My fourth attempt at getting treatment will take place on the 19th.  I hope the weather cooperates.
I received rejections today and yesterday; they are the first for February.  This year, I've heard "no" twelve times.  No acceptances.  I'm submitting a lot this week since I'm not coping with chemo side effects.
Last night, I received an email stating my poem, "Consumption" was nominated for a Rhysling Award!  It's never happened before.  They have a list-in-progress but, as of this post, my poem has yet to appear.  I receive a copy of the anthology that houses all the nominees.

I probably won't win, but knowing someone liked my poem enough to consider it one of the best things they read (in the genre) all 2018 brings a tear to my eye.  I wish I knew who it was.  My readers are the absolute best!  I'm honored.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Chapbook Incoming (Dancing Girl Press)

I still can't believe it.  Sometime this year, I'll have a chapbook out in the world.  Me, the college drop-out without a mentor who has never attended an IRL conference or workshop!  This is the result of years of effort.

I'm thrilled...

... and terrified.  What if I can't edit and my chapbook is lousy with errors?  What if no one buys it?  What if people buy it and then hate it?  What if...

*Mentally hyperventilates*

A lot of writers have a case of imposter syndrome, but I drive the truck the cases are stacked in for transport.  Have you seen the work DGP produces?  Gorgeous.  They're out of my league.  I'm the homely girl getting asked to prom by the quarterback.


I can do this.  I'm a poet.  I just have to focus on the parts in my control and believe I have at least some talent.
Today, I wrote editor Bowen and asked if my chapbook could be one of the last ones released this year.  My chemotherapy will end just shortly before it's supposed to come out, otherwise.  I hope, with a delay, I can more effectively connect my work with its readership without anything in the way.  It was a harder email to compose than I thought.

Monday, January 14, 2019

I Don't Play the Game

My baby brother thinks I make two serious missteps with my writing career:

1. I disclose my disability (vaguely) in my biography.
2. I am not a suck-up and don't schmooze.
Disability disclosure has lead to (at least) one publication rejecting me after the initial acceptance.  It's possible the information impacts more editors and judges than I realize.  My baby brother wonders why I risk divulging my status.


1. It's an interesting part of me.
2. I strive to be my most authentic self.
3. Editors who are ableist don't deserve my art.
4. I want disabled writers to know others are out there.
5. Disability should be seen in the able-bodied world.  And normalized.
The second "misstep" is more complicated.

I reach out to people (even complete strangers) to congratulate them on successes, and check on them after they talk about rough days.  I post submission opportunities on social media for other writers and review books.  I share poems I like on Twitter.  Whatever I can give to someone, I give freely.

But, I don't start conversations with well-known poets to have them notice me.  I don't ingratiate myself with editors and can't stomach the quid pro quo in the literary community.  It feels scummy.  How can you engage with people on an authentic level while constantly pondering the benefits?

Networking for connections you can utilize later is (supposedly) how the game is played.  I don't have an MFA or come from an affluent family, so searching for the ever-present angle should be a necessity.  I just can't.

What do you think?  Do you connect with expectations of reciprocity?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Chemotherapy and More Publications

My cancer didn't miraculously disappear between scans and, since it didn't, I'm starting chemotherapy by the end of the month.  I'm unsure how it will affect me.  It will definitely cut into my writing time.  I must give up time to gain time.
I added two more rejections to my year-end total for a result of 67 rejections.  Ouch.  On January 1st, I received five rejections from the same literary magazine.  Double ouch.

I also ended the year with another acceptance.  So, I finally broke the "curse" of six annual acceptances maximum!

Will I be as productive in 2019?  Outlook grim.
Recent publications:

"Post Office Delivery" (another holiday horror flash piece)

Two poems in the second issue of Brine Literary
I hope your holidays were incredible.  I hope 2019 is amazing for you.  Do you have any goals for this year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Update: Hodgkin's, Publication, Etc.

I managed surgery quite well.  I only spent two days in the hospital and didn't need rehab at all.  There is a four-inch incision the left side of my chest.  I'm missing part of a rib.

Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with classic Hodgkin lymphoma.  I had two primary cancers at the same time (the chest mass showed up on the same scan my uterine cancer did).  The next step is a tremendous amount of testing, but Hodgkin's is quite treatable.
Earlier this month, my holiday horror flash fiction piece, "Remote Control" was published.  Just to warn you, it's kind of disturbing.  This was the story I received a horrible rejection over.
I'm staring down 65 rejections for 2018 as of today.

I've received six acceptances.  My most recent one came on December 7th from Brine Literary.  No matter how many submissions I send in a year, I seem to receive six acceptances... rarely more.
I hope all of you are thriving, dear readers.

Monday, November 5, 2018

When Writing Isn't a Priority (Surgery)

Nothing resembling a poem has come to me since mid-October.  The stilted lines that did appear were melancholy, perhaps a bit maudlin. When I see dead friends tagged on Facebook, it starts, the echo of their deaths reverberate enough/energy to tickle dust from the empty places/they left in me.

Mortality is becoming my obsession, one I feel I'm too young for.

In a couple weeks, I'll be undergoing a thoracoscopy at the same hospital where I had my internal radiation.  They are going to remove a mass I hope isn't cancer.  I'll have to go to rehab after I'm discharged because I won't be able to lift myself for a while.  Soon, this blog will be tucked in a protective layer of mothballs and slid in a drawer.

My writing is important to me, but it's one of the first things I leave behind during a crisis.  Some people would say I'm not meant to be a writer because my pen probably won't be warming a page if the apocalypse comes.  But, I think it makes me human... and logical.  My brain divides my world into what needs doing.  And writing can wait— blogging can wait.

My recovery will run into December and, therefore, my holiday activities.  So, not only do I have to consider all the pre-op stuff (packing, research, notifying people, appointments, tracking medicines) but the holiday stuff as well.  My husband and I either need to complete shopping entirely before I go, or work out a strict list he can follow in my stead.  I narrowed down my list of card recipients and will sign my name without writing individualized letters.  I'll have to let the speed of my recovery dictate if candy gets made this year and how long Brandon and I will visit my family for Christmas.

When my mind isn't spinning with to-do lists (or freaking out about death), it shies away from reality.  I'm reading books, watching television, listening to music, and playing video games.  Writing isn't there—I can't see even a spark of the fire or feel its heat—it just takes too much of my brain.  It will come back after the chaos, and I'll be ready.

When was the last time life forced you to take a leave of absence from your writing?
More thoughts on my cancer blog.
My mom was in the hospital last week... again.  She's too young to have all her troubles.  She's okay for now.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Snapshot Stages of Death (A Poem)

Breath is tainted, spilled
sideways, angled from those
who speak from a mouth's corner.
Kaleidoscope eyes roll
out to whites, underdone eggs.
Darkness in a corner craves
her body's heat more than he does.
But its absence tucks beneath her
as purplish lividity.