Lately, I've been feeling like that kid pressed up against the candy store's window unable to get inside because the front door just doesn't want to open up for me and even though there are probably 100 other means of ingress it just won't feel the same unless I get in through the front door. I see my friends and fellow poets in there having a blast. But I cannot share in their joy except perhaps vicariously. I've gotten wary of congratulating poets on recent pubs even though I truly mean what I say and fully acknowledge and revel in their mastery of the craft - feeling that I might inadvertently jinx their streak of good luck. (Not only is my muse not accepting my calls - the number she gave me has been disconnected.) And I'm wondering how long I can go on with this charade. I mean how long can I pretend to be the "poet without a pub or book" who's on the verge? (On the verge to what?) I mean how long can I go on practicing my responses to Kate Greenstreet's interview questions about my first book?:
Kate: "How did you feel when your book first arrived from the publishers?"
Me: "Yeah, (subdued laughter here) I remember vividly when the postman left that non-descript brown box on my doorstep - I couldn't wait to tear it open but realised (much to my chagrin) as I read the address that I had mistakenly been sent Paul Guest's books and had to send them back. (unabashedly balling my eyes out here)"
This circle of friends that is this online poetic community has been very good to me. Scratch that - they have been very accommodating and welcomed me with open arms. And even though some of my staunchest supporters have turned their backs on me as of late - silently and unnoticeably deleting me from their blogrolls - I understand that in the PoBiz you're only as good as your last pub. And since my last serious pub was a couple of years ago - I figure it's put up or shut up time. Or should that be "put out" or "butt out" time.
The truth is that I really haven't been subbing much and that 2007 has been (at least for me as Peter Pereira aptly called it) an "annus horribulus". (2008 - so far - hasn't been going according to plan either.) But there are no excuses made here and I am done whining. So you can pull your earplugs out.
But I also must admit that I had ostensibly abandoned this creation I called my "blog" before I even knew what it entailed and how its hungry little mouth always yelped to be fed. My recent time away from blogging did give me some perspective. In the midst of all the soul-searching that I did while away - which I must admit can be a very thirst-inducing business - I realized that all the stats regarding the status of my blog that I had been so meticulously referring to every day just seemed to melt into oblivion. I was getting so caught up in this blog's Technorati's "Authority Quotient" and my Blogshare's market value & the Holy Grail of stats: my overall “Hits & Blog Visits". I mean what did all these stats mean anyway & how were they really relevant to my poetry. This was just becoming a popularity contest of sorts. I realized that I didn't need this to show me who or what I really was. And even though I wasn't blogging my hits went up. (I'm not joking here.) So I figured maybe they're trying to tell me something - maybe if I don't blog for a year before you know it I'll pull in thousands of hits. (I'm joking here.) (Asides provided for the humorously challenged.)
So where does that leave me? Hell - if I know! I suppose that the fact that I'm still here means something. The fact that you're still here means something too. I'm just not sure what. I'm dense that way! So hey if you've got a sure-fired way of getting my manuscript published - short of making death threats to publishers - let me know. Otherwise I'll just be puttin' out the same old - same old and ride out into the sunset.