Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Good Things

This is probably bad netiquette, but I'm just going to use an excerpt from an email I wrote this morning to recap the weekend. My excuse? My fingers are tired from having to write all my drafts in longhand. I may even have a little blister.

___________________

My weekend was wonderful...I don't generally produce anything worth keeping at workshops, (I need more solitude to write) but I do come away with a great deal of energy. When you think about it, writing poetry is a little (a lot!) insane. Not many people bang their head against a wall over articles: A door or The door? All that time and energy writing poems, full well knowing they'll have a limited readership and sealing that knowledge with a guarantee of no financial reward (most of the time anyway)...so, it was good to be around 150 other insane people for four days. *lol* I met a lot of very cool/interesting people and reconnected with some old friends. I definitely had a great time.

[end of excerpt]

___________________


What I came home to:

  1. A clean house.
  2. J. still on his schedule.
  3. J's new word: Eagles ("Go Eagles").
  4. T's acceptance letter to prep school!!! (600 applicants, 150 acceptances. This is a huge accomplishment on his part. Now our huge accomplishment will be figuring out a way to pay the tuition.)
  5. One of those sustaining rejections (an oxymoron to anyone who is not a writer) of a version of my manuscript. The kind that makes you think you're onto something even though it wasn't accepted, also the kind that encourages you to continue the submission process.


I say a version of the book because I've had so much conflicting advice on how to arrange a manuscript--some say load the front with the strongest poems, give a taste of what's to come, throw in some heavy hitters at the end. Others say it's best to have a polished and 'finished' theme. In light of all that, I’ve had three versions circulating since May--this recent rejection came after 7 months so it’s the first version I sent out. I lost the original (64 pages) in the Computer Crash of Fall '04. The second version circulating has the same arrangement, but it’s tighter (from 64 pages to 50 pages.) The most recent version is arranged thematically and heavily revised (about a dozen poems removed and replaced with others). I wonder if it will receive different comments? I do hope that if a publisher likes a collection of poems that may need (to their eye) help with the arrangment they would pick it up anyway, but there's no way of knowing, right? I'll just keep my fingers crossed.



21 comments:

Charles said...

Good idea to circulate different versions. I think I'm going to work on that. I'm not believing in my ms right now, so I think I need to inject some new life into it, and that sounds like a great place to start.

early hours of sky said...

I have two versions, two different titles. I am glad you had a good writing weekend and it is nice to have you back.

Wendy Wisner said...

This is all wonderful, Suzanne. I'm glad you had such fun. You deserve it!

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A. D. said...

Welcome back Suzanne. Your figurative banging of the head reminds me of my favorite Robert Creeley poem, The Door.

A. D. said...

Sheesh, blogger is messed up this afternoon. Sorry.

Suzanne said...

Charles,
The other option I'm thinking about is waiting things out another year and taking stock of the new work that's been coming...of course if I keep that thinking up I'll never finish. *lol*

Suzanne said...

T & Wendy, thanks for stopping by! :-) Brrr it's cold out there isn't Wendy? I can hear T laughing right now--I think it gets 40 below or something where she lives.

Suzanne said...

A.D. how can I thank you for this? "The Door," is now my favorite Robert Creeley poem, too. I love it, thanks so much.

Hi C. Dale,
Sorry things are acting up over here.

C. Dale said...

Welcome back. Best to not just circulate versions but to sit down with someone you trust and go through the entire ms. page by page and discuss why things are where they are. You won't agree, but it will point you in a better direction because you will have to address things in real time. I have seen this save many a ms. where the poet just kept sending it to different people and getting back random conflicting comments. It takes a good 2-3 hours to do this, sometimes more, but it is worth it.

Suzanne said...

C. Dale,
That's a great idea! And the one thing I haven't tried. I know just the person to ask, too. You're the best, thanks.

C. Dale said...

You are welcome. Have your reader/friend read it ahead of time. Spend the first hour just going through why things are where they are or asking questions about order. Listen and discuss. Then, using the discussion, after going through the whole thing, dismantle the ms. and put it back together with this person and your discussion as a guide. I guarantee it will help immensely. It doesn't work when first putting together a ms. but it does help to get the ms. right once it has been put together.

Suzanne said...

Got it. My friend is excited to do this as well, and I've promised to do the same for her when she's ready. (I've already called her *lol*)I have a feeling this is going to make all the difference. Truly, invaluable advice C. Dale. Gratitudes!

A.R.B. said...

Great to see you back and already working. Whip that ms. into shape! Take no prisoners. I know you can do it.

Unha aperta,
Alberto

Suzanne said...

(((blush))) Alberto, you really know how to make a girl's day! Thank you.

Una Aperta y Beso~*