Friday, August 27, 2010

The Writer on Her Work

I set the unripe green milkweed pod I'd photographed last week on my bookshelf. Now the seeds want to fly. I photo'd it again and set it outside.



I. Sending Off

Just recently, for the first time I've felt ready to send some writing out, for possible publication.

In the past, when I've thought about submitting something to be judged, inner defenses have roused themselves to send troops of sharp-teethed antibodies into my bloodstream, where they battled and defeated any idea of acting on such a risky idea.

Upping the "just do it" quotient simply upped the antibodies, until it was Rambo VIII in there.
So, I've never sent anything out.
Anything in print with my name on it got that way because friends or family facilitated it, not me.

But just lately, I haven't felt so anxious at the idea of rejection slips. Blogging more than four years now has helped. The practice, the encouragement.

Probably what helps most is that usually publication is met with... nothing.
I find this very comforting.
There's no need to worry so much what people will think about my writing, when mostly they think nothing.
Or they don't tell me, anyway.

There's just the one gatekeeper to face: the editor. And since I've worked in publishing for nine years now, I know that editors are mostly English majors exasperated by too much bad writing, not dragons. (Although the two might be related.)

I don't know how to send stuff off, so I asked Deanna, who does this regularly. She sent me a PDF listing places that publish essays. They even pay money. (I could send the list to you, if you want. E-mail me.)

So far, so good.
I'll see how far I can get with this process without unleashing the inner Green Berets who think risking rejection is opening the gates to the barbarians.

II. Asking for Help

Since some anxiety does, of course, attend this step, who can I call up for help?

Tomorrow, August 28, is the feast day of Saint Augustine, one of history's least fearful writers. Maybe he'd help, though I don't really want to be a thumper like he became.

Better is the Hindu Remover of Obstacles and Patron Saint of Writers, Ganesh(a).

He broke off the tip of one of his tusks to write the Mahabharata:
"Poets have told it before, poets are telling it now, other poets shall tell this history on earth in the future."
(The Book of the Beginning)

_________________________And then, there's Thomas Merton.ABOVE: Thomas Merton's photo of his worktable at the hermitage. Via.

I always find his prayer for the wobbly encouraging:
“My lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."
--Thomas Merton

5 comments:

Margaret said...

"Poets have told it before . . . "
reminds me of
"I want to tell the story again", from Weight by Jeanette Winterson.

There are so many good stories out there. But I want to tell one! My turn! Lemme try it!
. . . even if it's already been written more or less.
Ya know?!

"I am poured out like water", David wrote, but it seems like an Augustinian thing to say; he was a naked writer, speaking of "Blogging Bare-assed". He had help, too, (even if it was "imagined"; what's the difference?) from his "bread of the inner mouth of my soul".

Honest self-expression is damned hard.
But we (I) want it. It's like,
"I want to sing and be heard . . . but nobody listen!"

I like to blog about Star Trek because I can do so at a distance. At the same time, I want everyone to know what color my toothbrush is.

(They must have Star Trek toothbrushes up for purchase online somewhere . . . brb looking . . . damn. Can't find any. Maybe they have Trek toothpaste . . . "toothpaste" . . . SHOULD OLD ACQUAINTANCE BEEEE FORGOT----)

I am digress.

I love "Big Head - Think Big"

kthxbai, Fresk!

Lee said...

Go for it!!!

momo said...

I am so happy to hear this! as I was reading an earlier post, I thought, again, that this writing should be in print somewhere.

The Crow said...

You go, girl! Your writing is damned good stuff, Fresca, so it will find a market.

If I haven't said so before, thank you for your support and encouragement. And especially thank you for posting gems like Merton's prayer. I'm going to borrow it.

ArtSparker said...

Ganesh is a favorite of mine. Mostly it's just staying on task, I think, I'm doing something similar with potential galleries right now.