Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Want a Rejection Letter

Tonight I did the unthinkable. I wrote poetry.

It's tough being a grad student. I don't have time for...well...anything these days. It's like this - being a full time student doesn't mean I spend half of my days loafing around and all of my evenings out drinking; being a full time student means that when I'm not in class, I should be studying/doing homework so that it balances out to 40 hours a week of my time (people forget this). Then, as a TA, I'm working 20 more hours a week.

These numbers are guesstimations, of course.

Outside of these 60 hours, I'm eating, sleeping, and showering (well, of the three, at least I shower regularly...), and dealing with social obligations. Family gatherings, hanging out with friends, etc. As things have been progressing, I've been spending one night a week devoted to each of these factors. This is odd for me, because in undergrad, I typically did neither.

And on top of this, I'm supposed to be working on my thesis *laugh*. And getting published and speaking at conferences *maniacal laugh*. Oh, and promoting world peace, while we're at it.

But tonight, between finishing Little Bee by Chris Cleave for my independent study course and starting on the 90-something book reviews I have to grade, I sat down and wrote a poem. And then another. And then another. It was like I relapsed back into compulsive writing. My sponsor will not be pleased.

I wrote 9 poems tonight. And then, I thought, oh my God, I must get published! And I started scouring the internet for possible literary magazines that would take my work. Getting published is no walk down the produce aisle; you have to find the right type of magazine, which would be a magazine that has a nice mixture of your style and its notoriety. That's when I discovered my issue: none of the respected literary magazines are publishing my kind of poetry. In fact, no literary magazines are. Of all of the past editions from different publications (from Florida to Oahu) that I leafed through, I couldn't find a single poem that resembled any that I wrote.

My poetry is purposefully childish and straightforward. All of the poetry that I read was more mature and opaque. I want my audience to "get it". Most poets don't, it seems.

So, I don't know what I'll do.

I guess send some poems off anyway and hope for the best, right? In the publication world, getting rejections letters is a really good sign, because it means that they almost chose you; submissions that are terrible usually don't get any sort of response at all. I keep a small pile of rejection letters in my sock drawer, oddly enough. Maybe some day, my rejections can outnumber my socks.

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