Saturday, May 19, 2012

Morality to Submitting

There's something that doesn't feel quite right about sending out poems as soon as they're composed. Forget about the chances of being published (Allen Ginsberg famously thought first thought best thought and it worked out for him), I mean there's this underlining feeling of I don't know what else to call it, betrayal. The poem has come for you. You like it and it's working. It feels well, alive. And you turn around and push it out into the world without so much as a second thought. It feels like bad parenting. So after many years of practicing the quick turn around, I've come to the decision that I'm going to first create a large backlog of poems before sending out. It feels strange. But it turns out that sending poetry out was a habit that somehow forged itself into my writing process. I worked on poems before sending them out of course, proofed them and such, but I didn't really work on them if you know what I mean. It was more like a cursory way of writing rather than the in depth form of writing and rewriting that one needs to do if they want to achieve any kind of serious recognition. In other words, submitting was a false step in my writing process. How do I know? Well, I've been practicing writing without that one step: the point where I look up a magazine, read their guidelines and either prepare a mailing or hit send after attaching what I thought was life's work, and I've happily discovered that I can still write without seeking to be published. How novel! I don't want to be sarcastic about this though. Bottom line is, if you're serious about writing and you know that it's the reason you were put on this earth, then don't just hit send or walk to the mailbox absentmindedly. Stop. Sit with your creations a little while. There will come a day when it will be time to let them go. But not yet, not yet.