So, Productivity Can Pay Off…

I haven’t totally maintained my goal to be sending out at least two submissions every day, but I’ve been pretty good about sending out several a week these last few weeks.  And today, Flyover Country Review published my poem “Stegosaurus.”  I’m so happy!  It’s my first publication in 2 years!  (Not counting being 25% co-author [with Karen Head, Blake Leland, and Bob Wood] of the anthology On Occasion:  Four Poets, One Year, which came out in March.)

I also have a couple of poems coming out in Kentucky Review.  As soon as they do, I’ll let you know!

Feeling Productive (For the Moment)

I read this post on Facebook about annoying status messages, and the gist of it was, “Don’t post things that make you look like a smug bastard.”  And it’s a valid message for blog posts as well.  So, I’m hoping that I don’t come across as smug when I say that I have been a submission queen lately–in the last 2 weeks, I’ve sent 2 different chapbooks out to contests and poems to 14 journals.  I am not admitting this for praise (because, after all, no one reads this blog), but just to show (myself) that I’m trying to take my writing more seriously.  Which I’ve been needing to do.  (As we know, if you write something down, it becomes more real.)

Submissions are hard for everyone.  But they seem especially hard for me, as I don’t have a good sense of how to put poems together in batches that make sense to me, let alone editors.  Often it seems that my poems are really just very different from each other, so trying to group them is like a nightmare.  So, I wind up not sending poems out–not the best idea, if I actually want to be a writer that people actually read.

But I’ve been trying (as I mentioned)–and while I don’t know when I’ll be successful with any of these 16 submissions (and already I know 2 weren’t, as I received rejections today), I feel like if I can just keep trying–maybe just sending one or two submissions out every day–maybe I can start getting my name out there and seeing that name in print.

Five Ways to Feel Christmassy… and Fail

1.  Christmas cookies burned.

2.  Looked at trees today.  It’s Dec. 7th, and the trees were totally picked over.

3.  There’s no Christmas music tonight that isn’t annoying me.  Really, “Feliz Navidad,” again?

4.  Had to give up making an snowman ornament because I kept pricking myself with the pins to make it.  And I had the wrong size pom-poms to make the ear-muffs anyway.

5.  Went to put up some Christmas lights in the front window, and put some on the Nordic Island pine that is in the window as well, but of course on both strings that I brought out (which were working last year), half of the lights were off.  If a 100 bulbs had to be busted, I wish it had been one entire string, and not 50 on both.  But now I’ll have to try to figure out which lights are blown on both strings.  It’s a real bitch to pull the lights in and out of their sockets too.  I got through 20 lights on one strand and thumb and forefinger are crabbing at the effort.  (Also, I’m afraid of breaking a nail.)

I know, I know, I know.  First World Pains.

Poems: Instructions to Make Impossible Things

Today I attended the SAMLA 2013 Conference, here at the Mariott Altanta Buckhead hotel (right across the street from Lenox Mall–and don’t I wish I had realized that, because I would totally have driven there and parked in the Mall lot–I took MARTA in instead), and heard some really great speakers on a variety of topics, from art, to fairy tales, to Dr Who.  The opening “pre-session” that I attended focused on the publishing biz for both academic articles and academic monographs–which isn’t something you’d think I’d be overly interested in, as I’m not on the TT.  But I went anyway, and I think I might have liked this session the best–because it was informative AND funny.

The main reason I was at the Conference was because of chairing the SAMLA Poets panel (again–really, I need to give this gig up–but no one else seems to want it, either).  And the three other poets on the panel–Emily Schulten (West Georgia), Andy Frazee (Georgia Tech), and M.P. Jones IV (Auburn)–were extremely diverse and interesting in their work.  Emily’s poetry explored her relationship with her brother, whom she had donated a kidney to.  In general, I’m not a big fan of “body” poetry, but what I liked about her poems was the relationship between siblings that she developed in her writing.  M.P.’s work struck me as both Southern and Poetic with a capital P–lyric poems, certainly, and quite good (his mirror poem about his dying brother was great), and he read with that “poetic authority” that I so admire–and envy.

And surprising to me most of all was Andy’s work, because I hadn’t heard his poetry before, and I had asked him to be on the panel because I knew he was a poet (and I like him as a person), but only gave him the sketchiest of directions about “something poetry and digital-ish.”  So it was exciting to hear him read because he’s written this series of somewhat found prose poems that have come to him mining eHow, lines from poems he likes, and of course, his own imagination.  As he was reading, I kept thinking, This will be such an awesome collection when he gets done… and how long will that be??

I’ve asked him to share his work with me, just because I’d like to see how it looks on the page and parse how he structures the poems.  They were really just cool–like the titles were a little funny, but often the poems themselves were serious and sometimes painful.  He said that “Poems [are] instructions to make impossible things,” which was just a brilliant, pithy definition.  I don’t know if that is an expression he made up, or if he heard it somewhere, but it really is awesome. In fact, I think Instructions to Make Impossible Things should be the title of that collection, whenever he finishes it.  (I think I’ll tell him that the next time I see him.)

There are a number of sessions tomorrow that I’d be interested in seeing–the Eudora Welty Society session, for instance (which is at 8 a.m.!).  And actually, I could make it, since our tennis lesson has been moved to tomorrow afternoon because of City Finals knocking us off the court.  But as I’m sitting here, I’m noticing that I’ve been sneezing and coughing alot today, and my throat is feeling kind of wooly… Which means, that cold I thought I’d successfully dodged last week is probably here.  So it’s probably best that I limit my exposure to other people.

I don’t want to share any more germs than necessary.  And let’s face it, if I could sleep in, who wouldn’t want to do that?

 

A Lark

Oh!  It’s raining!  Which has nothing to do with this post.

You may wonder why, after a break of over 2 years, I have decided to start writing here again,  The truth is, I forgot about this blog.

Oh bother, it’s stopped.  Crazy Charlotte weather.

Who even reminded me I had this blog was a new person at work who said she was reading some of my work online–which I thought meant she had stumbled on a few poems.  But no, she had found my rant about prezi.  I must have looked at her blankly when she said, “You know, your blog?”  And here I’m thinking tumblr, which is where I have (more frequently) written things.  Because I was tired of people stalking me at this blog.  (And yes, they were stalking me.  I mean, not like anything I put in this blog was particularly private–for heaven’s sake, my name in full blazing glory is on it–but still, a couple of people were reading it who I’d rather see be swallowed by a monsoon and drowned at sea than know Word One about me.)  So I kind of quit.  And then I forgot about it.  And started writing in tumblr.

So, you’re asking yourself, why now?  And aren’t the stalkers still stalking?

The answer to the first one is, I don’t know.  Except that it’s pretty boring watching my nephew because I’m not really watching him because he’s holed up in his room holding a very dramatic conversation with himself, or singing Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (and by the way, is that Lou Diamond Phillips watching a plushie fight-to-the-death in their video?  WTF?), or singing operatic nonsense to the Mario Brother’s theme.  If I was in his room watching, I might be extremely entertained.  But as I am out here in the living room contemplating the meaning of nothing in particular, I thought it might be amusing to write a few lines in this sad ol’ unloved blog, for old time’s sake.

The answer to the second question is, so what?  Let them find out the huge secret that I’m babysitting this weekend.  Oh horrors!  How can they use it against me???  Oh!  I am wringing my hands in worry just thinking about it!

(Not.)

We’ll see how long I keep it up.  I’ll probably quit when I get back to my regular routine… you know, like tomorrow.

So, Here, All This Time, You Think You’re the Cool Aunt…

My sister and her husband are on a Miami getaway, right on the beach, and I have driven up to Charlotte for the weekend to watch my nephew who is The Best Nephew in the Whole World (TM).  Normally, when I visit my sister, he and I are totally sympatico, totally on the same wavelength.  It does not seem to be the case right now.

I’m not sure if it’s because he’s growing up, and so therefore thinks all old people are uncool; or if it’s because he’s downloaded this new Pokemon game, and wants to be alone with it in his room; or if I’m only cool in relation to my sister, whom he sees all the time, so I therefore represent a distraction from the normal order; or if he might still be pissed at me about last night…

When I abducted the router.

You see, my sister, in her instructions, said he needs to be in bed by 11:00.  And don’t let him sneak his devices and the internet in with him in bed, or he’ll be up all night, blah blah.  Typical Mom-ish type stuff.  So I let him know several times yesterday that he had an 11:00 curfew, which I don’t think he thought was for real.

So last night, he’s playing Mine Craft, and I come out into the living room at 11:15 and say, “Save your game.”

“What?” he says.

“Save your game, if you need to.”

“Why?”

“Router turning off in 5-4-3-2-1.”  And I unplugged it… and took it with me.

Oh man, was he furious.  “THAT IS NOT COOL” he says.

“You think not?” I say.  “I don’t think it’s cool that I told you your Mom said 11:00 was bedtime and here you are still up playing on the computer.”

He shuts the top of his MacBook Air and says “THAT WAS NOT COOL.  SEE, I’M SHUTTING IT DOWN.”

“Yeah, but only because I took the router.”

He shoots me this fierce expression  that could have melted stone.  The problem is, it makes me want to laugh.  Which of course, you can’t do, when someone (you love) is angry at you.

But that face he gave?  It’s the Doyle-passed-down-for-generations-pissed-off face.  It’s the look-down-your-nose-with-a-cold-stare-and-lesser-mortals-will-back-down-and-give-you-your-way face.  It’s the Godzilla-is-rampaging-and-about-to-level-cities face.  It’s the you-so-better-hope-I-don’t-come-at-you-with-a-knife-while-you’re-sleeping face.

But, as someone  who perfected that expression when I was 5 (and by the way, still frequently uses it her own self to let others know She Is Not Happy), it has zero effect on me.

I was like, “Sorry dude.  It’s time for bed.”

He tromped off to his room with his now-rather-pointless computer, and slammed the door behind him.  But I didn’t really hear a peep from him all night… so maybe he caught a few hours of sleep.

And of course, I returned the router to its rightful place this morning at 7…

So, I guess I am temporarily cool again.  At least untill 11:00 tonight.  ;-)

My Manifesto of Hate: a Friday Night Rant

I hate prezi.

I hate spending 4 days working on a prezi because I really hate PowerPoint.

I hate that everybody and her mom, her dog, and her dog’s fleas make PowerPoints.

PowerPoints are about as riveting as toilet paper.  The itchy kind.

I hate that everyone thinks that the word “presentation” is synonymous with the word “PowerPoint.”  Except for those in the prezi camp.

I wanted to be in the prezi camp.  With the cool kids.

I hate all the cool functionality of prezi denied to me because the prezi website has the world’s worst instruction manual.

The instructions for prezi are on par with the instructions for Ikea.

I hate having to stay on campus till 10 p.m.  on a Friday night working on a PowerPoint presentation–the PowerPoint presentation that would have taken me a day and a half to begin with at most if I had and done it first–because I couldn’t get the prezi to work right.

I hate prezi.  I mean it.

I hate that PowerPoint wouldn’t let me print out the notes for my slides, so I had to cut and paste the notes into Word, which lost all my paragraph markers, and made the notes big, blobby, Sasquatches of text that I then had to go back in and reformat for readability.

My notes are really long.  And possibly pompous.

I hate that my presentation on Monday has to be a PowerPoint presentation.  With handouts.

I hate handouts.

I hate that I will have to finish up on my  handouts for my PowerPoint presentation on a Saturday because I didn’t get them done earlier this week when I was too busy fighting with prezi.

A Saturday.  As in, the day after I stayed in my office till 10 p.m. on a Friday night.  As in, this weekend.

I hate that I will have to go back to campus on a Sunday to print out 100 copies of the PowerPoint slides and other handouts so that I can give them out to people at the conference on Monday.

Handouts are a) tossed just as soon as the presentation is over, and b) a waste of paper.

I hate wasting paper.

I hate that I can’t just turn the handouts into .pdfs to e-mail to all of the people at my presentation.

I hate that no one will like my PowerPoint presentation, if they even bother to look at it.

I hate thinking the audience will be bored, and that any time in the future when I see one of the members of the audience, I will have to hide my head in shame.

I hate thinking that if the audience is bored, they will wonder why they bothered attending my presentation session.

I hate thinking that if they wonder why they attended, then I’ll have to question why I wasted all that time making the PowerPoint presentation and the abandoned prezi.

I hate wondering what an audience’s questions will be.

I hate answering an audience’s questions.

I hate not being good at answering an audience’s questions.

I hate that all of this is my fault:  the prezi, the PowerPoint, the 15 hours I spent on campus on a Friday, the work I will have to do to make handouts, the trip to campus on Sunday, the “having to stand up in front of people and give a presentation when I’d rather just sit passively in the audience” blues.

I hate the blues.  I hate having the blues.  I hate that my prezi was going to be awash in a theme of blue.

I hate prezi.

Hate, hate, hate prezi.