Galleys, sent from the editor of the Doctor T.J. Ecklebirg Review: this is all new... "Here are our suggestions... Here's what it's going to look like in print... Here's what we'd like you to do..." Not many changes, as it turns out, mostly requests for more description, another piece here or there and so it's easy to oblige. It made the piece stronger, in the end. I've always imagined this is what good editors do. Well! Okay, then. I suppose there will be more to get used to as this continues.
Good "acceptances" news, as posted on the front page. That's twelve acceptances since I revamped myself for 2013... it's also thirty-six rejections, a less publicized record. Still, that's a cool ratio. Speaking of ratios, I woke up with horse-racing on my mind and went looking around for metaphor words and other fine phrases--found some lovely ones like "statistics speculation," "coming off a layoff," "front runners versus stalkers," "heading for the inside rail" so I'm feeling a poem brewing. I also discovered that the term "handicap" comes from a wagering, bartering game having to do with competitors putting their cash in a "hand-in" cap and a referee who then equalized the bets. The notion that "handicapped" people in the old days were forced to be beggars and have "caps in hand" is completely false (see Snopes for more). To "handicap" a person, in the original metaphor, meant to give them a more equalized chance of success. I like it. Do you?
Enjoying the sense of freedom with classes over, I started wandering through journal markets again. While it used to depress me, I find that now I get engulfed in ideas. Wrote a quirky little essay about high school, race riots and tobacco fields in 1974. With my birthday coming up, I'm feeling oddly 'retro.' In other news, received a lovely rejection letter from Penumbra and sent out several homeless poems. Now, I'll try to reorient myself back into the real world, or what passes for that, and finish the the day. SMH
John Gardner, without espousing any particular religious aesthetic, claimed in On Moral Fiction "It was said in the old days that every year Thor made a circle around Middle-earth, beating back the enemies of order. Thor got older every year, and the circle occupied by gods and men grew smaller. The wisdom god, Woden, went out to the king of the trolls, got him in an armlock, and demanded to know of him how order might triumph over chaos. 'Give me your left eye,' said the kind of the trolls, 'and I'll tell you.' Without hesitation, Woden gave up his left eye. 'Now tell me.' The troll said, 'The secret is, Watch with both eyes!' Woden's left eye was the last sure hope of the gods and men in their kingdom of light surrounded on all sides by darkness. All we have left is Thor's hammer, which represents not brute force but art, or, counting both hammerheads, art and criticism." (3) He maintains that fiction ought to strive toward life affirmation, to "hold off the twilight of the gods and of us" (5, OMF).
I believe this with all of my heart, and that art should also be playful and serious, mocking and heroic: it may be whatever we are as humans, whatever we aspire to, whatever humbles us as well. Thank you for being part of my experiences here. I do feel life has suddenly opened me up for another grand adventure and I'm rearing to go (and holding on tightly)!
Today I wrote a poem called "Shorthand Daily" and sent it off, re-recorded the MP3 of "The Elixir" for The Silver Blade, and tried to edit a strange poem about my childhood called "Ahab's Day." I hope the evening is wide open for writing fiction, because the new spring air feels like haunted houses to me and I'm eager to talk about the old house in Davidsonville and its many ghosts.... SMH