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and just like that: vacation’s over

July 19, 2009

I’ll work on an update on my vacation and the framework the writing conference provided in a while. It was so wonderful that I’m keeping it in a sacred space in my brain for a bit longer. Plus, despite a nap this afternoon, I’m tired. I spent 14 or 15 hours in transit from Saturday evening on the West Coast to Sunday morning on the East Coast. My flights went to Portland, San Francisco, D.C. and Albany (the San Francisco leg was overnight). I will be posting photos on Facebook right away; if you friend me, you’ll find them).

While I was at Tin House, I received three pieces of news about my artwork and my poems. Would you like the good news first or the bad news? How about the bad news? Two more batches of poems have been rejected by two journals. However, one of the rejection e-mails contained a personal note, which feels better than a form letter:

Thank you very much for submitting these poems to us, as well as your patience while we took a long while reviewing them. Unfortunately, we’ve decided not to accept them. We found “Cunning Anubis” interesting, but ultimately felt it would benefit from further drafting to make it more effective. We wish you the best of luck with placing these pieces elsewhere, and look forward to seeing more from you.

Fair enough. After talking so much about craft at the conference, I’m motivated to change how I revise. I revise with the eyes of a copy editor, I think. What can go? What can go? What isn’t necessary? What can go? Is anything redundant? Are the word choices appropriate? Are the line breaks effective? Is the narrative strong enough to keep interest? Are the juxtapositions and images clear enough to sustain pieces with less narration? I have decent instincts when it comes to storytelling and truth-telling and imagination in my poems, but I rely on them (almost entirely) to be powerful enough to carry the pieces. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they’re not. In those instances, I’m going to have to be, um, more “poetic” (go figure) and consider other tools more carefully: rhythm, alliteration, assonance, etc.

And now for the good news! Two of my paintings –“Persephone” and “Night Warrior” — will stay over from the The Arts Center of the Capital Region (Troy, NY) member salon show and appear in “Fence Show Select 2009.” The select exhibit will be at the Main Gallery from July 31 through September 11.

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5 Comments
  1. July 20, 2009 1:05 pm

    That’s wonderful news about your paintings.

    Funny you should use the word sacred. I was just saying to Michelle the other day that Arvon was an almost holy experience! Seems we both get a lot from peace and dedicated writing time…..what a surprise, not *grin*.

    I can’t wait to hear all about it.

  2. July 20, 2009 11:09 pm

    Congrats! Wow! So I can get my driver to bring me round to see your work, anytime, right? Yee-haw!

  3. July 21, 2009 3:46 pm

    It was wonderful to get to meet you!

  4. Michelle permalink
    July 21, 2009 3:50 pm

    Are you going to have us all over for a soiree when you’re famous? I’m thrilled to hear your news.

    This –

    “I revise with the eyes of a copy editor, I think. What can go? What can go? What isn’t necessary? What can go? Is anything redundant? Are the word choices appropriate? Are the line breaks effective? Is the narrative strong enough to keep interest? Are the juxtapositions and images clear enough to sustain pieces with less narration? I have decent instincts when it comes to storytelling and truth-telling and imagination in my poems, but I rely on them (almost entirely) to be powerful enough to carry the pieces. Sometimes they are. Sometimes they’re not. In those instances, I’m going to have to be, um, more “poetic” (go figure) and consider other tools more carefully: rhythm, alliteration, assonance, etc.”

    makes me break out in a cold sweat. Sounds like you’re doing a lot right when it comes to editing already.

  5. carolee permalink
    July 21, 2009 5:37 pm

    jo — i did use the word “sacred,” and it feels exactly like that. i will be writing more about it when my feet touch down again.

    jill — yes, you and your driver may stop by the arts center any time between 7/31 & 9/11 during regular hours and see my paintings schmoozing with artwork from actual artists. i was going to go up for the opening reception but i think i’m driving to maine instead.

    dale — it was wonderful to meet you, too. you’re a brave man to help me, not once, but twice, with my big pink suitcase.

    michelle — yes, when i am famous, there’ll be a giant soiree and i’ll invite you, all of you, for sure. it’s an excellent incentive to keep at it!

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