25 September 2021

Submissions, Old and New.

I'm still waiting on a lot of submissions from last spring, but I know a lot of journals slow down during summer months. I had work out at a few dozen places, but this week, I've sent out to four or five new presses. At least a couple are entirely new to me, like Bellingham Review and Cheat River Review. I've never submitted to them before. 

A poet I met this summer at Community of Writers, Carrie Nassif, has organized a virtual workshop with some of the participants, extending our ability to get feedback from this wonderful group of writers. We share our work and offer input via Google Doc; it's been a great way to stay engaged with the process of revision. I need to really channel the momentum and get back to drafting new work. 

Monday is the start of fall term. For the most part, my courses are ready to go--I put tremendous amount of time into updates last year. Today, I might try to do a bit of yard work, if my knee cooperates. I threw together a chocolate chip muffin mix, and I plan to work on my submissions a little, but I also want to relax and enjoy the next two days.

UPDATE: It's now 5:00 pm on Saturday. I've put SO. MUCH. TIME. into getting poetry submissions sent out today--I've sent out small selections of poems, chapbook manuscripts, and full-length manuscripts. I submitted to a few awards, and went through the last several Poets & Writers and Writer's Chronicle magazines, and pulled potential presses out of their classifieds. I am exhausted, but I've bolstered my submissions by a great deal today. I feel accomplished, especially after taking so much time away from the labor of submitting work. 

I also was able to edit a few poems today as I got together bundles for submission, and I've sent out several of the poems about Mr. Greene that I wrote in June. I still have a little bit of work to do before I can say that my poems are all on the maximum number of editors' desks, but I could easily finish up this coming week. 

I also finished up laundry today, and I ran the vacuum cleaner a bit. I spent about an hour in the back yard, pulling weeds and watering, and moving a few bins of dirt. I also watered everything back there a bit--still a ton to do, but if I could get out there for an hour a day for the next week or two, I might make some headway. Today, as soon as I felt a twinge or two in my knee, I came back inside, reluctant to hurt myself. Myrtle, one of the neighborhood cats who lives in my yard, has dug a burrow so that she can get into my back yard. So, now it looks like I'm going to have to line at least one side of my privacy fence with a line of  blocks, just to keep her out. Sigh.

23 September 2021

A break from the blog and from my work.

It's been a couple of months . . . I was feeling quite guilty about taking the time off, but I'm going to be honest about a few things. First, my job--my teaching--was so stressful last year. I was teaching online from home, but the administration was acting as if faculty members were somehow getting away with something . . . I always felt so much anxiety, never felt appreciated, and I was due for my five-year evaluation last year during the pandemic. All of it was HARD. Then, I participated in the Community of Writers workshop in June, and I wrote a whole string of poems about Mr. Greene and our marriage and his death. That suite of poems wiped me the fuck out. 

I taught summer school, then took three weeks off in the first part of September--no work, no writing, no home projects. I feel as if I'm starting the school year (still online) in a much more restful, peaceful place, and I think this may become my September plan every year. There is a new president at the college, who seems to be on faculty's side of things, for the first time in a long time we're feeling heard and appreciated. Our provost was removed yesterday evening--she is no longer with the college--and with her goes more stress. I'm starting the school year without anxiety for the first time since before the shooting, to be honest. I'm delighted--I feel so hopeful. 

Classes start Monday, and I'm still online this fall. I think I'll be having knee surgery in January or February, so I'll likely be online in winter term, too. Now that the provost is gone, that won't be a fight. A good friend has stepped in as our department chair, and she is a capable, excellent chair. So much feels right for the first time in a long time. 

So, today, I recorded the few rejection letters I've received since July, and updated my Duotrope records. I will be planning to send out work again starting tomorrow . . . and today, I sent my manuscript out to four first book awards:

The Black Ocean Debut Book Award

Silverfish Review's Gerald Cable Award

The Juniper Prize (University of Massachusetts Press)

Copper Nickel's Jake Adam York Prize

I did not submit to any of these contests last year . . . and in late October, the first deadlines for contests I DID submit to are coming back around again. While I'm still waiting to hear from the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize (University of Pittsburgh Press), it's the only remaining contest where my work is under consideration. I figure that it's high time to get that manuscript out there again! 

I will be trying to write blog posts more regularly again, now that I'm starting the school year, it's easier to keep a schedule for submitting and blogging.