Here’s a bit of glad tidings. My manuscript The Red Queen Hypothesis won the Prairie State Poetry Prize and will be published before the end of 2023–maybe even by the end of this summer! It’s thrilling to have won an award like this.
In fact, I should be jumping up and down with glee that RQH finally will see print, as it has taken me numerous submissions, two acceptances that did not come to fruition, and a considerable number of pauses to reassess the manuscript. But my initial feeling is more of relief than elation. Relief that now I can turn all of my focus to newer work: a manuscript nearly completed and one that I’m just starting to collate and imagine. Well–not all of my focus in those directions. There is the work of promoting the new book, work that I find difficult and challenging because it’s not really in my wheelhouse. Highland Park Poetry is a tiny independent non-profit press and doesn’t have the resources to do much promotion; Jennifer Dotson, Founder & Creative Engine behind the organization, runs several contests, produces a newsletter, and hosts a Facebook page of contributing poets. She also hosts a poetry podcast and at least one reading series…a busy person, working on a small budget. People like her and Larry Robin are the guardian angels of poetry in the USA. Many thanks, Jennifer. I’ll do what I can to promote my book.
There may be reading events in my future this year. If so, I’ll try to post them here as well as my fall-back social media framework, the wretched but still occasionally useful Facebook.
As to new work, grateful to report that it is coming along. I have a small stack of potentially interesting/workable drafts in my file. The month of January wasn’t all dearth and chill and lack of imagery or ideas. Granted, there are days and there are days. I find, though, that I am more patient with myself during low or no-motivation times than I used to be. I kind of hate to rack that up to maturity (oh ye gods! have I become “a mature woman”?)–but age might be a contributor. I feel no compelling reason to push myself past my physical and emotional limits anymore because it isn’t worth the repercussions. Given who I am and the stage of my career and life, there’s no need to prove my worth to anyone, to elevate my status as a “serious writer,” to grind the wheels of ambition to make other people take notice.
I’m an introvert. I don’t really like being noticed. But I do like it when people read what I’ve written, when what I have put into words has a chance to filter into other minds and other emotional frames. It’s entertaining and pleasant to imagine fellow human beings might sit quietly with a book (or screen) and consider, in their own minds, what I have observed or invented. If they don’t like it, that’s okay. At least they are reading. That’s valuable in itself.