Thursday, February 7, 2019
It's about time I wrote about my writing. As a long-time member of Idaho Writer's League, I enter the contests that organization conducts annually. Since being a member, I have entered and won prizes every year except the year I was a receiver, which disqualified me from entering. I don't consider humor my forte, but one year I was runner-up for the humor award for a silly poem on the assigned title, "The Woman in the Orange Coat." I just thought the tittle was silly, which seems to have stimulated what little humor I am blessed with. This year I won three prizes, one for an article, one for light verse, and one for serious verse. I've done better other years. My first published poem was in a high school anthology,Young America Sings, collected from high schools in eight states of the Intermountain West by National High School Poetry Association. What I learned in the class for which I wrote that poem is the only formal training I have received in writing poetry. Still, I have written poems throughout my life. Sometimes it was doggerel for a poster. Maybe much of the rest wasn't much better, but I often wrote a poem to express a deep-felt emotion. I enjoy the poetry of Christina Rossetti, William Blake, Robert Service, Robert Frost,and Emily Dickinson, have puzzled over Wallace Stevens until ultimately appreciating at least his "Emperor of Ice Cream," while wondering why anyone can be bothered with reading Alexander Pope's "Rape of the Lock"--so many words about something so ludicrous. Since I've belonged to IWL, I have used poetry as a way to experiment with language and found it a good way to find colorful words to brighten up my prose. Having my poetry judged has helped me learn more about writing it, but I would love to study with a good poet for a semester or so. Reading books about writing leaves it all up to my limited understanding. Day-to-day critique would surely help me more. Over the years I have collected a fat packet of rejection letters from publishers to whom I have submitted my work. Nowadays I flirt with the idea of self-publishing. Is it any different than the vanity publishing of the past in any way other than less costly? I did get a poem published in one of those anthologies that make money off all us amateurs by selling us the huge, hard-bound book, and I actually received a cute little red heart charm for my poem from Shoe Woman. I am reasonably successful at selling articles or at least getting them published, but I have not earned enough money with my writing to pay for equipment, ink, and paper. Yet I keep at it My husband says, "You won't get published unless your submit your work," so I recently sent off "Strangers on the Mountain," a too long short story to a contest that accepts long stories. I think it is my best work. I hope they will think so, too. and I am busy just now preparing to submit my children's book, Summer Visitors, to yet another publisher. The fat packet, however, is not getting fatter. It seems that now that we writers submit via the Internet, publishes have stopped responding to anything they don't accept for publication. That's not to say form letter rejection notices told us much other than "no thanks." See why I've been reluctant to write about my writing?