I Have Needs, Too

One thing that’s rough about the literary life is the amount of time between happy accidents, which, for me, includes publication. I get a lot of rejections, but I handle that okay to an extent.

But after a while, I start to get nervous.

Especially now with this older manuscript. I’ve been sending work out from it for about eight months, I guess. Only a few pieces have been taken. This is fine. I mean, I’m not dying to get in. But it starts to present a problem for my relationship to the work.

The further away I get from the experience of having written it, the more I see its flaws. Like after you’ve seen a movie a few times, suddenly you notice the boom mike dipping into the frame like a black baby carrot. I’ve noticed that getting poems published makes me feel like they’re not my problem anymore. That, since somebody else likes them, I don’t have to feel solely responsible for caring for them, tending to them, etc.

Is this normal? It seems worse now that I’ve finished writing the new ms. I feel very ambivalent about the other book, which is sad because I loved it for so long.

I know that another thing that helps me feel excited about my work again is reading it. I read in June and those old pieces were jolted back to life. But reading opportunities seem few and far between here in the sunny PHX. We need a good non-MFA/non-distinguished writer reading series here.

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