Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, ed., Books and Culture. / New at patreon.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The House of Words (no. 11): One writer's lessons

"Buying a book," courtesy of photographer Herman Brinkman
of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and sxc.hu.
Doing What You Want to Do, continued
Question for the day: Is there something to be learned from one writer's experience?

At this juncture, I am fairly confident that I will continue to be able to publish the books I want to write. I’m not promising where I will publish. I have three books of poetry and three novels forthcoming, and not one is at a major New York City house. I can’t say that I tried too hard to stay in New York, as I have shown exactly one manuscript to exactly two big houses in the past few years. One of the editors liked my books and asked to read a certain manuscript and then wanted to buy. In the end, she gave me the lowdown on the increasing commercialism in New York and her own lack of control over what she could buy. The other gave me a fairly usual rejection. I didn’t bother beyond those two.

Side note about publishing: I find that most book-manuscript rejections are flattering. Don’t let it influence your mind. Don’t get carried away. Nothing in publishing matters until it matters.*

Why have I gone elsewhere? Having parted with my agent, I somehow didn’t want to bother struggling in the city. None of my books to date had received a push. Catherwood was the only one selling wonderfully well at any time.  But that time happened to be just after it had just gone out of hardcover at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and into paperback at Bard, an old literary imprint that had been newly revived. Then HarperCollins imploded and took down many books and whole lines, including Bard. So I was in a situation where it seemed that the big boys had never done more for me than any hardworking smaller house. I was glad to have been on prestigious lists, sure, but my books had remained rather obscure. When I received a flurry of requests for manuscripts from outside of New York, I was ready to accept some of them. More metanoia.

A side note about publishing with a house: expect bumps. Expect disasters, small or large, because your book depends on a publishng and distribution machine and other people who have lives and goals of their own. Also, it is part of time and our human calendar—events that appear to have nothing to do with books affect the visibility and selling of books.

Should I be pleased about where I am? I have a book of poetry and a novel forthcoming at a rising university press that has decided to build a literary line. One of them was given a prize by an outside judge. The Throne of Psyche will appear shortly, and I was very taken with the design. Three books are forthcoming in the UK, where I hope to have more of a presence than I do now. I can reprint those later on in the U. S. And I have a book forthcoming in Canada. The only thing that I’ve ever published there prior to this is a translation of one of my books.

All of these books (and other requests, some that didn’t quite fit me) came out of editors and publishers liking my work and asking to see more or inviting me to submit. I love that. I just plain love it.

What are the worst things about where I am now?

A lot of the older books are out of print. Right now I'm working on obtaining a reprint of Catherwood. Because I haven't experienced that old-fashioned publisher's effort to build a readership for a writer and because I have worked in many different forms, I tend to feel a little uncertain about whether my readers will follow me into new or more unusual territory. (I tend to move about a lot in both subject matter and form, a thing publishers do not love, though it makes life more interesting. And alas, poetry seems to be unusual territory for many people these days!)

What’s the best thing about loving it and where I am now?

I wrote the stories and novels and poems that I wanted to write and gave me joy in the act of writing.

I wrote what I wanted to read.

As a result of a clear prior track in the world, I managed to be lazy about placing books and yet everything turned out fine.

All anybody can say about publishing comes from experience. My experience has been mixed. But most people’s experience is mixed. That's from the simple and inevitable fact that most writers don't have lead books, and therefore they are not at the forefront of the publisher's concern.

What can we take from one writer's experience, as readers or writers?

If you are a reader and you buy a book that is not a lead book and not perched anywhere near the bestseller list, you are making a statement and placing a vote that will affect both writer and publisher. Every book purchase counts. Every book purchase says you want to read a certain writer and that the publisher should have confidence in him or her. In the case of poetry, a modicum of readers voting this way may even mean that a house decides to retain its poetry line rather than jettisoning it. I was told that if each poetry book in a certain smallish house had managed to sell 300 copies, the house would not have gotten rid of the line. 300! Skip lunch out once, and you can vote for a book.

If you write and publish, be prepared for things to go otherwise than dreamed or planned.

If you are a writer passionate about words and storytelling rather that "product" and "market," hang onto your heart and soul. Don’t sell them down the river. Because if you do, a day may just come when you wish with all your being that you had written exactly what you wanted to write and wanted to read.


*The very same thing goes for movie rights. Does not matter until it matters. You sell rights? Still doesn’t matter, though the spare change is welcome. Set to film? I have a friend whose book was six weeks from shooting with a major star signed on for the lead. Six weeks out, the whole thing fell apart. Does not matter until it matters.

38 comments:

  1. "If you are a writer passionate about words and storytelling rather than "product" and "market," hang onto your heart and soul."

    Truly!

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  2. You are a Quick Nic!

    And I don't think you are in any danger in that way...

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  3. So I'm slow... I was going to quote the same line as did Nic. That says it all.

    I'll be in danger of having this comment marked as spam by saying this: I'm going to pass on your series on publishing to one of my daughters. She's been writing a book for some time, what little is left after working at a demanding job, and is dreading the publishing runaround that must follow. There are very few publishers left in Canada.

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  4. marja-leena,

    Good luck to her! One thing about the current day: lots of new presses and lots of moving about the world. When I was younger, I never would have thought that I'd have books in Canada and England. (Of course, our big houses are almost entirely owned by the von Holtzbrinck group or Bertelsmann in Germany.

    We'll be hitting a lot of topics from who you marry to collaboration to Nic's nanopress ideas... So your daughter is bound to find something helpful with so many voices, I suppose. And if there's something she wants to see and doesn't, she should leave a note.

    I have completely lost track of how many parts there will be. 30? Or more? A lot of the posts are rather long, too. I probably need to mix them up a bit more, long-short-long-short where I can.

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  5. "If you are a writer passionate about words and storytelling rather than "product" and "market," hang onto your heart and soul."

    You can do both. Really. You can be passionate and be cognizant of and support the marketing of your craft.

    To many "artsy" writers are too quick to say they are selling out. And too many "markety" writers give up too quickly on their passion(s) -- which ironically had they followed would have made it more likely that they would be successful.

    But what the hell do I know? I am just an unemployed marketing dude.

    Cheers.

    Gary "The two-eyed unemployed marketing writer with the soul of a novelist and the navel-gazing abilities of a first-rate procrastinator" D

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  6. See, that's why you ought to throw your hat into the ring here!

    I don't care if people agree--I just want to talk about it. And I do agree to an extent. That is, I don't think that books are a product like soap, but I have no doubt that they can be marketed in new and better ways.

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  7. Oh, a challenge from the poet-mother-teacher-writer-blogger-librarydiscussionlady.

    Let's start with defining what "marketing" is by defining what it is not.

    While marketing may involve these activities, marketing as I and some others define does not equal:

    a. Advertising

    b. Booking speaking engagements

    c. Printing fancy brochures

    d. Getting more views on your web page/Youtube video/twitter feed/web-thingy-of-the-month

    e. Choosing fonts and graphics and colors

    f. Having drinks with publishing reps who blow smoke up your butt

    Marketing does contain many phases (please see the Pragmatic Marketing framework through your favorite search portal).

    Most importantly to me in the context of this discussion, marketing is an understanding of a target market [readership] and how they will become aware of [find], interact with [become emotionally involved], and talk about [blog/review/give as present/buy for schools] your product [book/poem/audio/movie/cast iron statue] in a way that gets more copies to be (perish the thought) PURCHASED. (Eww, I feel so dirty thinking I would want someone to pay me money for my works... NOT!)

    Being cognizant of your potential targets DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE SOLD OUT.

    If you have a passion for something you create, and have any goals for it at all beyond self-and-your-parents-admiration -- for example if you want a wide readership -- it behooves you to understand what interests your potential market, how to reach it, and how to get it to rally around your works.

    Notice, I didn't say that you have to ADJUST YOUR PASSION to address a different market than the one naturally aligned with your art. Although that is a possible approach depending on who and how many you want to reach.

    Rather, understanding how to reach, engage, and energize those who could or should be interested in the fruits of your specific passion is what marketing should be all about for the arts.

    At least that's what I think at this point. And, as usual, I am open to being wrong.

    Gary

    P.S. I wanted to use the word "recalcitrant" in this comment, but didn't quite have a place for it.

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  8. Thanks, Gary!

    Although you may have been an erstwhile recalcitrant, I find you most obliging in offering us some of your marketing genius.

    And who is getting all these drinks with publishing reps? I want some of that!

    I don't object to marketing or selling or things of that nature--I object to the conversion of culture into boxes of LCD mind cereal. I object to the way many things are done. I don't object to the basic need to sell books or for publishers to make a modest profit.

    All right, you have told us what marketing is not. But what don't you give us an example of the whole successful effort to rally-round?

    We're just babes in the marketing woods around here. We thought we were doing a good job with our youtube channels and our blogs and our dadgum Web Presence (I refuse to use all caps, Gary and J. K. Rowling, I'm sorry!)and our websites.

    I'm going to have to re-post selections from your advice, I see.

    Pragmatic marketing, pragmatic marketing... Let's all go google together, people!

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  9. Gary Dietz, you make my brain hurt! How, say, would you apply Pragmatic Marketing to a collection of formal (a sub-sub-sub market) poetry?

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  10. Do something someone else is not doing.

    Make it authentic and useful.

    Make is easy to access.

    Make it so different that it could be picked up and rebroadcast widely (tweeted, webinared, press released, spoken about at conferences, written about in magazines)

    Experiment, get feedback, and adjust based on actual results.

    Here are some specific suggestion to you Marly (previously private now public).

    1. Build up a live reading event, possibly using some of the imagery from your Youtube videos, into a series of live readings over the internet. (A quick Google shows this poet doing something in the same neighborhood - though not quite my suggestion: http://maupinhouse.blogspot.com/2011/03/learn-how-to-use-poetry-to-teach.html )

    2. Offer with your publisher a $2 coupon off of the print or ebook version of your book for attending.

    3. Offer school districts (or colleges) one free hour of "live discussion with the author" using webconferencing for any class that buys 40 or more copies of your book. And if a district places a book of yours on a reading list, offer 2 hours per semester of remote, live "discussion with the author" for the first year, with a $250 per hour (or whatever works) remote consulting fee per hour in subsequent years.

    3a. Alternately, create a private "ning" discussion group for "talks with the author" for a non-realtime discussion of the book if it is on the reading list.

    Basically, become your own unique brand, stand out from the pack, and differentiate enough (whilst remaining authentic to your passions) so you become a brand people seek out even more than they do now.

    ...This is great advice from a guy who hasn't quite done this for himself. But you know what they say about people who can't do :-)

    Have a fine night and I hope I have stimulated some neurons.

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  11. Brain hurt = stimulated neurons?

    Okay, now I see the kind of thing that you mean...

    Thanks, Mr. Dietz.

    Now every time I sign in, Ms. Marketing Idiot will come up, forever and ever.

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  12. Excellent post, Marly - and I agree with all of it.

    People sell books on twitter, facebook etc, and I know it is good to make people aware of what you do otherwise how are they going to know it is there in the first place. However, this takes too much time, and it intrudes.

    For me the writing comes first. It is what I want to leave behind. I want to make it as good as I can, and I do think if I spend too much time on social networking this won't happen.

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  13. Clare,

    I do think that you are right. Certainly the mind I bring to facebook etc. is not exactly the same mind that I bring to my work. It's like comparing a light frolic to a deep dream.

    And yes, the writng comes first. Otherwise, what's the point?

    Then the question becomes to what degree must we obsess on and spend time on that pesky matter of marketing in a world where we can't expect marketing departments to do everything.

    Shall we all create a double to do all that labor for us? It is hard to think of where in my long day to put more.

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  14. All--

    I've gotten a number of letters from writers about this post and will summarize what they feel. They tend to worry about the whole business of expending time (and money, of course) on schemes that always seem to have a very limited effectiveness. They worry about siphoning off large amounts of time and creativity to invest in things that have nothing to do with writing. They worry about a mindset that has little to do with making art.

    Thoughts?

    Also, I got a letter from a friend whose poetry book broke the thousand mark (highly unusual), and he hasn't the foggiest idea why. I suspect it is because he has such a good readership base for his fiction in his home state in particular and his larger region.

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  15. Excellent post, Marly, and I appreciate Mr. Dietz's comments and advice. A few reactions: I think your passion for your subjects comes across in your books, and this is a big part of their appeal. They are also, of course, beautifully written. But literary chops aren't enough, if the heart isn't in the words. People are looking for passion, integrity, spiritual and emotional depth -- the things that give them hope for a better world. They are hungry for it, and why shouldn't they be?

    Second, thanks for mentioning that publishers at small houses have lives and goals. One of those is to pay the rent, and chances are that the publishing is a labor of love and they have to do other work to support it. Every expense for every book comes out of our own pocket -- we aren't on salary like the editors and publicists at major houses. On the other hand, your passion is often matched by our passion.

    I understand that writers want to concentrate on their writing - I'm a writer too! But if we want to leave behind something more than files in our computer, the modern equivalent of papers in a drawer, writers must spend some time developing a market for their work in cooperation with publishers. As a publisher, I can tell you that there is very little I can do for a writer who doesn't have an online following, built up over time, of people who know and admire their work. And I mean real readers, not just lots of FB friends. We can build on that, but it's very hard to start from scratch.

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  16. Thanks, Beth! I am enjoying the clash of points of view (Gary vs. the writers was quite interesting.)

    Yes, I think that we forget that, in the ideal, somebody who founds a press is also a maker attempting to create something complicated and beautiful. And that the creation is fueled by passion for a vision of what books can be.

    It is interesting to see this from the angle of a publisher-writer; I need to push a novelist friend of mine who eschews the web to read this line of comments. I agree that depending on "facebook friends" to buy your books is a silly attitude--anyway, a large portion of my facebook friends have books or art to sell back to me! We couldn't possibly afford the traffic!

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  17. "Gary vs. the writers"? Hold the phone there Marly.

    I am not "versus" anyone, especially writers, a set of people of which I am a member. I couldn't really be against myself now, could I?

    I hope that my comments don't come off as not supporting writers and poets and artists. Because I do. Very much so.

    So much that I get really upset when good stuff gets read or heard by only eleven people.

    Gary "Wishing everyone's good stuff can be read or heard by a large multiple of eleven" D

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  18. Hey, don't be thin-skinned! I already said you were a marketing genius, Gary. (And a good writer, too.)

    But because of that, the direction of your thoughts points differently than the direction of every other writer who has written me a letter or left a post here. I mean, except Beth, who happens to also be a publisher.

    And that's good. We need some other directions to contemplate. We need more directions on the compass, more possibilities in our heads. Maybe we can't all do exactly what you suggest, either because of time or money (or terror of public performance--I have some friends like that, too.) But maybe that way of thinking will lead us to better, more imaginative ideas about how to get the word out, how to reach people.

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  19. Marly,

    Understood. And thanks.

    I just need to drink more coffee after starting my post-dad-get-kid-to-school mode before shifting into my figure-out-how-to-make-money-comment-and-blog-to-get-cobwebs-out-of-head mode.

    Seems like there may be an actual new role emerging sandwiched somewhere between (or replacing?) traditional agents, publishing house editors, publishing house marketing departments, and the wild-west of self-marketing.

    Oh, and my suggestions for promotion were only a small sampling of cool stuff people could be / are doing. Again, seems like more room for another kind of "how-to" book.

    Those are thoughts for another day. I just sent off a note pitching a project for a technical/training book in partnership with a software company. Wish me luck on landing that agreement, I'd like to pay some bills!

    Best to you Marly. And to all of your followers and readers.

    Gary

    P.S. Was I just called "Mr. Dietz" Oy.

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  20. Gary,

    Yes, one of the people I'm going to have on the series is Carole Sargent, who is a writer doing literary advising. You will be interested in that--three parts at least, I think.

    I am getting behind-the-scenes requests from writers and publishers for you to do some posts! People want to know: how to think about marketing from your angle; how to market a novel or books of poetry; how to make a 'zine more visible and helpful to its writers. Interested?

    Yes, maybe you should do an e-book on this topic. People are really hungry for what they can do, both the ambitous ideas and also things that are imaginative and doable on a shoestring budget. And you could start right here with some posts! I promise that I'd promote it later. Lured?

    Good luck on getting that gig. You are a splendid dad and fine human being, Mr. Gary Dietz, sir!

    I'm going off for a bit soon, as I promised to serve at a funeral. But shall talk later, right?

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  21. I for one would love to read a whole post by Gary, expanding on his ideas and suggestions here a little, as part of The House of Words A.K.A. The Series That Ate Marly's Blog. I do sympathize with writers who don't want to have to think about this, but I'm not sure we have that luxury anymore, if we ever did. However, I do know a poet who's sold over two thousand copies of each of his three books. He eschews the web as much as possible and told me once he'd gladly return to the age of hand-copying books onto vellum. So what's his secret? Getting poems from all three on Garrison Keillor's NPR spot, "A Writer's Almanac."

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  22. (I should add, since Marly was writing her comment as I was writing mine, that I would pay good money for an ebook, or real book, on this subject.)

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  23. Dave,

    Like that! The Series That Ate Marly's Blog. It is growing. People keep jumping on board. And offering pieces that need to be broken into sections...

    Hey, it did eat my blog, and I'm supposed to be reminding people that I have a book coming out!

    The Keillor connection is interesting. The poems on there are really a mixed lot, too. But that's a lot of ears reached on a daily basis.

    I know somebody else who has sold beaucoup copies in an alternative way. I think this would only be open to men because it involves a lot of stranger contact. There's a Canadian poet who has sold his books door-to-door like one of the old Fuller Brush men. And he has sold thousands, I hear.

    * * *

    Gary,

    Yes, do it!

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  24. Speaking of marketing poetry, you know that i fall into the category of "the audience", or "the buying public" that poets are trying to woo. i know many artists, but the only poets i know now (long out of university) i've met just recently. On the web.

    Did you see David Orr's op ed piece in the NYT blasting Oprah's magazine piece on poetry. If so, what did you think of it? i saw Orr's piece first then took a look at the article he ranted about (i do occasionally pay attention to Oprah, but i'm not a subscriber or a regular viewer). i have to say that from my point of view, Orr did nothing to help bridge the void between poets and "the public."

    Here's my reaction:
    Orr clearly doesn't get it. And he missed a fabulous opportunity to capitalize and use O's piece to further the goal of capturing more of "the public's" interest. From my point of view, his attitude represents the wall that writers like him have built--and continue to maintain-- between poets and "the public," a public that includes buyers like me: individuals that appreciate poetry for many reasons and hold dear not only some of the "good ones" but also many that the literary snobs like Orr look down upon.

    i gained an appreciation of poetry thru my traditional public education, but never had a teacher who took me into the depths of it as an art form. i would say "i like what i like". i can't tell you why from a literary point of view, i simply embrace that which i respond to. i don't have a deep well of educated insight (appreciation of the classics, etc) to bring to what i encounter. And yet, i can recognize there is a difference between the poetry of Mary Oliver and Stanley Kunitz.

    continued

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  25. continued

    i do like to occasionally challenge myself, to stretch my understanding and appreciation of poetry. But mostly, i'm lazy. How did i learn about Kunitz? Television. Bill Moyers PBS series on poets and the Dodge Poetry Festival. i watched and i was captivated. How did i find and become captivated with Marly's writing? she was commenting on some of the same blogs i was.

    When i find something that resonates with me i seek more from that well. i love finding poetry that has meaning for me...just like i love finding new music that touches, amuses, entertains, enlightens--or stretches me.

    From my point of view, O magazine's article was a positive thing. It may not be the ideal, it may make purists wince, but Orr's condemnation: "The signs of the coming apocalypse are many, but none are starker than this Web headline in the April issue of O: The Oprah Magazine: “Spring Fashion Modeled by Rising Young Poets...” is ridiculous. Any artist who wants to sell his or her work, needs to have--or go get-- a sense of humor and a certain appreciation of pop culture.

    His sarcastic remarks about Oliver's work epitomizes the snobbery that makes too many of us-"the public" feel that the poetry community considers themselves "above" the rest of us. If i were able to ask Orr a question (it was not one of the pieces readers could respond to) it would be "What did you hope to achieve with your critique of O Magazine's poetry articles?" He was expressing himself in a public forum, not a journal for his peers. In my opinion, the arrogance he expressed represents why a gulf exists and remains between poets and the buying public. He shot himself in the foot. Like i'm really going to rush out and buy his book to teach me about poetry?! Not a chance.

    Poets and artists trying to "make it" could learn a lot from other artists who recognize that the "lower forms" of their art have a place and play a very important role. For example, the uber talented young(ish) composer Eric Whitacre, who reveres the high art forms of his medium but also has loads of fun with all music--he not only recognizes the value of "pop music" he's wise enough (some would say brave enough) to publicly embrace it.

    i guess i would tell poets and other artists who are struggling for and wanting recognition: be very careful not to be--or come off as-- a snob. For example, don't be afraid to share with us your "guilty pleasures", the parts of pop culture you do enjoy. Don't look down on those of us who turn regularly to Frost, Oliver, Maya Angelou and other popular poets or poems. If you radiate the feeling that you are too good for us we will, unfortunately, tend to believe you.

    Love this series...great job, Marly!

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  26. I really like Vicki's comment because I'll bet a lot of writers just nodded along with David Orr and never stopped to think how such cleverness looks from the reader's point of view. The "common reader" of poetry has become uncommon, and she suggests that we writers are capable of snubbing that lovely, uncommon creature. It's a good point, not often made.

    I also like the way she pushes us to be less serious, more playful, more willing to be a part of the wider stream of culture.

    And Vicki, I have long thought Frost underrated (like Longfellow), and that he is capable of spectacular effects and has (despite his troubled family life) a big heart. He had a wonderful, instinctive grasp of metrical drama and frolic that I admire--you can learn a lot about how to play with meter by sitting down and doing what people used to do, marking the stressed and unstressed syllables in Frost's poems. Of course, metrical poetry itself is still out of fashion.

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  27. Couldn't agree more with Vicki about that wretched column of Orr's. I think Oliver is one of the great poets of our time. You're free to disagree, but being snide and snarky about it just shows that you are an asshole. The fashion spread in O did make me wince a little, but the rare interview with Oliver more than made up for it, and I think any attempt to bring poetry to a mass audience should -- as Vicki says -- be welcomed, not mocked.

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  28. Love being called a "common reader."
    Cool!
    ;^)

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  29. Hurrah, and you have Dave on your side, and that's bound to be good!

    You know, I think that the once-useful and ordinary phrase, "the common reader," has almost vanished. But I liked that idea and ideal.

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  30. Vicki,

    Yay!

    Gary (now I have to go find the article!)

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  31. Dave,
    your daily morning porch "tweets" are treasures. Yes, i'm one of those that found them via Mr. Ebert.

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  32. Wow, very interesting commentary in these house of words posts.

    Maybe Miss Emily had it right and we should just stuff it all in our couch cushions and sock drawers but then I guess your house could burn and then where would it be. There is something called LOCKS in the archival word--lots of copies keep things safe.

    The craziest thing happened. I have been really following what everybody has been saying in these posts and thinking about my thoughts about the sock drawer......... in the meantime this dude who is a Vietnam vet read me a poem he had written and it was so beautiful. I just love it when these men open up, but you know I have a soft spot for them. He is a gentle giant sort of man and to hear him read his his poem really moved me. When I was listening to his he almost seemed like a divine child and I thought about the verse where jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me

    This was about Christmas time and just the other day he approached me because he heard me bragging about this big time poet I knew and gave me a copy thinking I might ask you if there was an online journal that might publish it. He had no children and said he "just wanted to lay some tracks down in the world."

    so I took the poems home and then his house burned down. Isnt that crazy

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  33. Wow, Susanna--

    Another one of your curious adventures in Huntsville! Very poignant when you were talking about him reading the poem: then, boom! The whole story blows up in a way I didn't expect.

    You like people, and they like you, and so you have these strange things happen to you because you know more about them than if you acted as most people do. You would have skimmed by and not have the memory of the big man reading his poem to you and not know what happened to him, losing his nest in the world.

    And better take good care of that poetry! In fact, better take it to work and make the poor fellow a copy...

    This story seems to hook up with Vicki's posts to say that there are people out there you care about and love poetry there. And we had better cherish and respect them and not be scornful because their lives are just as precious as our own.

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  34. Glad you responded, I thought it might have been silly and I almost deleted it since all the comments are so awesome on these posts.

    Hey, I was thinking on the ride home about it and I decided that published or not I have to write something all or it builds up be it history articles, my diary, or even trashy smutt that I sit around and think up.,..my friend Gerald is also constantly privalty writing and its like there is no choice about it. Wether people read it or not we will still produce it. Then I thought back to a college class about Marx and it brought me full circle on the issue in my mind--that people have a need to create and as soon as we create it we have produced the means to be hurt by someone destroying our creation. Anyway, thats the last drop of my disjointed musings. oh, and I liked some of the ideas that Gary had. Might try and use them for some library stuff

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  35. Hah, no, we need some comments from readers, not just from obsessed poets and fiction writers!

    The thing is to give your creation away to others, not to keep it under lock and key. Then you don't worry about somebody destroying it because it's like rain--everywhere.

    Besides, everything gets destroyed eventually. Mountains are laid low, valleys are punched up in the air.

    Yes, I think getting into the groove of Gary-thought might be helpful. You all seem to do a grand job on your library events already, so why not be even better?

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  36. Gerald? Who be this Gerald? Thought you were talking about your counter tenor friend at Chanticleer, but then I suddenly remembered that it's not Gerald but Gregory Peebles.

    You are an entertaining woman, Susanna!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.