Watch This Space

This blog has existed for a little over a year now, and I’ve had so much fun with it — more than I ever imagined I would. I have “met” some truly great people, and I have been energized by the exchange of opinions, ideas, and support from people who love poetry — both writing it and (rarer still) reading it. As one year turns into the next, I thought I’d share with you my blogging plans for the next year:

  1. It has become painfully clear that I need a new theme. I say “painfully” because I love the aesthetic of this current one: the colors, the faint grid, the ’80s retro look, everything. But there are certain things that I can’t do with this theme, and now I would like to be able to do those things. Bonus points for any theme that will allow me to post poems with lines that are longer than usual. A month or so ago, I got really into poems with long lines, and the results were not pretty.
  2. Widgets. Facebook buttons. A blog roll. All that “stuff” that other bloggers have and that I can’t seem to figure out, so that this blog will be as connected and social as many others are, and so it will look nicer, too — not just a big text hole surrounded by broken things.
  3. Hey, did you know I’m an editor who is looking for freelance projects? And who has edited a few creative manuscripts (both poetry and prose), and would like to work on more of them — and is willing to do so at a very affordable rate? Well, how would you know? I have not done a great job of getting the word out — which was my primary purpose for this blog, before I discovered how much fun it is to just post poems. In the new year, I plan to make that information much easier to find. But I’ll make sure that art and commerce are separate enough that you don’t come for the poems and end up with a sales pitch (like a “free” visit to a time share community).

I am in over my head with a lot of this stuff, which is why I’ve hired an expert: Dan Kittay of Kittay New Media. (Some of you know that Dan works for me as a freelancer at my “actual job” — so I will hasten to say that he is charging me the same rate that he would any other client of my type, and that I cleared it with our general counsel first.) Yes, I know there’s a handy WordPress tutorial. It’s just that … sigh. Anyway, Dan says he can get things all straightened out and more functional for me and then show me how to maintain it.

Thank you so much for a great year, and please watch this space!



Ask and Ye Shall Receive *Something*

The second I said out loud (or typed out loud, anyway) that I needed to bring in some additional freelance editing work, my wonderful friends began to respond. There were postings on Facebook walls, linkings in on LinkedIn, and various leads sent not just for me, but for James, too. A listing in a university online marketplace (also suggested by a couple of friends) led to a possible connection for some dissertation editing.

I’m still tying up all these various loose ends. I don’t even have my resume on LinkedIn. You know what? I never updated my resume after getting my current job. There’s still a hard copy of it tucked into the portfolio I carried with me to my interview — I just tucked it back in there, walked out the door, got the call that I had the job, and never looked at my resume again. That was ten years ago! Whether or not I’m able to make a go of this new venture (on top of all the ventures I already had going), I think it’s good that I have the impetus to sharpen up and make myself a little more visible.

Just to be perfectly clear, I love my current job and am grateful to have it. I’m not looking to replace it and certainly don’t want to do anything that imperils it. I’m just looking at the two weekdays off I have, plus all my other “leisure” time (ha!), and wondering if there’s a bit more I can do to see my family through its current financial crisis.

Thank you, friends, for all you’ve done and continue to do. This is not an easy time, but your connections, advice, and support have already added up to *something*. It’s all still taking shape, but I remain confident that James and I will be able to cobble something together, and maybe one connection will lead to another and another, and then … Well, you know the rest. (In case you don’t — James needs a job.) Actually, I am not at all confident in the middle of the night. I can’t tell you the whole truth, or even call my bete noire by its full name. The closest I get is to call it “impending economic uncertainty.” How’s that for euphemism?

On the creative front, the 21 poems that I needed to pare down to 20 instead ballooned to 31 and stayed there for a while. Nothing like backward progress. I finally got it down to 20, and now I *just* have to edit them. 

I got the news that I didn’t win a contest (and its $1,000 prize), but there’s still one more publication I haven’t heard from, and 2011 was already a pretty good year … on that score, anyway.


What I’m Up To

I don’t know whether I’ve “made it” yet as a poet, but I’ve at least reached a level where there are enough acceptances to offset the rejection notices (though those do still arrive, and do still sting a bit). In the past year, I’ve had poems in Literary Mama, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and the Aurorean. Others will appear this winter and spring in Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Cider Press Review, and Exit 13.

Now that I feel like I’ve (somewhat) hit my stride, I’d really like to help others do the same. One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve read through various literary publications (not necessarily the ones listed above) is that every now and then, you’ll see a typo that lifts you right out of the flow of the piece for a second. Whether it’s a misspelling or one of those tricky homophones or near homophones (affect/effect, adverse/averse, etc.), I find it a bit jarring, and then it’s hard to settle down into the piece again. Now, the fact that I’m reading them means that typos, incorrect word choices, and other errors don’t always prevent a good piece from being published. But don’t you cringe a little when you realize you’ve submitted something with errors in it — and there they are, irrevocably in print?

And if you’re just starting out, or if you have an especially important manuscript, wouldn’t it be great to have someone flag those errors for you so you can remove them … before you submit your work? It seems to me that you can’t trust your spouse, friend, random passerby, or other manuscript reader to spot every potential problem. And you can’t necessarily rely on editors of literary publications to catch every single thing, either. It’s not that they’re bad editors — they’re dealing with a tremendous volume of “stuff,” and they’re reading more for literary merit than for spelling, grammar, and so forth. That’s as it should be.

That’s where I come in. Or where I’d like to, anyway. When I’m not writing poetry, I’m working as an editor at a nationwide professional association. I manage one publication and assist with another. I plan articles, assign them, write them, and edit them (for accuracy, flow, style, and that certain je ne sais quoi) once they come in. I’ve been at my current job for a decade, and in the general realm of editing and publishing for about 15 years. I have a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in journalism. Recently, I’ve begun to wonder if there’s a way to bring together my editor side and my poet side, by helping other emerging writers polish their work. Whether it’s a poem, a short story, a nonfiction piece, or “other,” I can either give you a no-holds-barred assessment, or I can withhold my personal opinion and just copy edit it for you. If I have any thoughts regarding where you might submit, I can share those, too. I’m just getting started, and this is work I’d love to do (and I know how expenses can add up, with all those sample copies) — so I can be very flexible with pricing. Just let me know what you need, and we’ll work something out.

So that’s my story. What’s yours … And may I please edit it for you?