Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this on a sick day because everything is heightened even though it should be dulled. I opened my email to read the first lines from a place I submitted a poem to, recently. The opener said, “Dear Rachael, I’m so sorry not to have gotten back to you sooner…” and for some reason, I thought that would be followed with GOOD NEWS. Much to my chagrin: NO. It was not. It was yet another rejection of a poem I’d written. I know, don’t get down, keep submitting, and so on.
But let me just say for a moment, I started this blog to inspire writers and to give advice and get advice and maybe to give advice to myself. Sometimes, to ramble. Let me do that today, and thank you for listening.
Both of my blogs, this one, and “Unsung Throes” fall under my username: kindalikeapoet. I specifically chose this title a) because it comes from a Replacements song b) because said song is written for me, or so I’d like to think c) because I wrestle with my identity and abilities as a poet d) all of the above.
If you chose any of the above, or D, you’re correct. Pat yourself on the back. We here at Feeling Sorry For Ourselves Poet Corner applaud your effort and precision. We’ll be sure to publish your contributions in our comment box below.
Except for university publications, or my own, Word Fountain (see thelibrarywordfountain on wordpress), I have never had a piece, especially not a poem, professionally or nationally recognized. I write poetry and inspire (hopefully?) poets because I love words, poetry and music more than oxygen itself and, without any of those vices, I’d cease to exist.
Once, when I was ten, I wrote a terribly prophetic poem called The Meaning of it All and that was published by one of those “Wow, you’re a professionally published poet! Now celebrate your success by purchasing our gargantuan anthology for only $75!” But for the time being, I was exalted. My sixth grade teacher found out and announced, “We have a published poet among us!” holding my poem, which got an honorable mention at the school fair, high above her head.
I knew then that I was a writer, having a 402 page (in ink and notebook) novel done and scrolls of poetic ramblings from kitchen napkins to Mom’s credit card receipts to water bottles and sharpies. I was a poet. I was a writer. That was my destiny.
It still is. But I lost sight of it for a good long time. A long enough time that my self confidence was in the gutter and to even think that I could be a poet was unimaginable. Only I was, and I always have been. When I heard The Replacements’ “Achin’ to Be” whose lyrics express the inner struggle I feel with my own creative endeavors, there was no other name in which to call these online web blogs.
While getting my MFA from Wilkes University’s Creative Writing program, I learned that you turn rejection slips into poetry, both literally and figuratively. But small rejections like this, so early in my efforts to publish my poetry dishearten me. Those tiny nagging voices of doubt start whispering that my poetry does not belong among my peers.
But I am a writer and a poet. My annoyingly optimistic outlook does not offer another alternative. I’ll keep trekking along, I suppose.
In the meantime, enjoy this as a consolation prize for listening to me muse, whine and feel sorry for my rejection:
Be well, rock and write on,
P.S. Is it any coincidence that my Eddie Vedder Pandora station just played “Light Today” which is about seeing the good in everything? I think not.