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Showing posts from December, 2011

Farewell, 2011!

It's been a pretty fantastic year for Katie the Poet!

And before I get all excited about what next year will bring, I think it is equally important to kind of meditate on what this year meant, what I've accomplished, and what I could have done better as both a writer and as a person.

I remember at the beginning of this year, I was less than enthusiastic. I was feeling terribly nervous about my MFA thesis, and I was just worried about the general uncertainty of my future.

Anyway, let's flashback to January 2010 where I reflected on this:

What creative projects to work on this year?
Absolutely 100% focus must be directed towards finishing my thesis. All other noise must perish...

Once my thesis is completed, I plan to continue editing it and prepping it for submission to publishers. I'm really hoping to be able to do this by May. That would be nice :-)

Another goal - do more readings! I need to get more involved in the poetry community. Lately I've been letting mys…

Never Ask a Woman How Much She Weighs...

And never ask a writer how many times they've been rejected B-)


Though, to give you a teaser -- both will be revealed by the end of this blog post.

Ah Facebook -- colossal waste of time?

Well, today a post on facebook by my good friend ire'ne lara silva , a poet I admire, got me thinking about 2011 and beyond.

As writers, we're always quick to celebrate our successes, share them with our friends and family to gain encouragement and for those oh so valuable "congratulations." I thrive on that sort of thing :) :) :)

But what about the rejections? Those I usually tuck away in the back of my mind. Somewhere along the road, I've thickened up my writerly skin and have decided to not let them get to me, really. I mean, as a poet, you really do indeed have to be that way. Otherwise, well... you won't last very long!

So anyway, let's get back to ire'ne -- she was brave enough to tally up her rejection/acceptance stats for the year and share them on her fac…

Book Contract!!

On the eve of Christmas Eve (hah!), I got an early Christmas present.

I signed my book contract with Slough Press!

Woohoo!

Now I had always imagined contract signing to be a very... mmm... scary ordeal. Someone is out to screw someone, right? And it's legally binding and and you have to negotiate and such, right?

But this experience was nothing of the sort. Editor and I met at Starbucks for coffee, chit chatted a bit, and he explained to me what was in the contract. I had done a bit of reading on what to expect from a book contract (on the poets and writers website).

So everything sounds good to me, and I am feeling very comfortable and confident about the project. One reassuring aspect of this process is the fact that my editor and I are both active participants in our local poetry scene -- which means that we know each other already! Phew, so having my precious project in the hands of someone I know and trust? Well, that makes a big difference.

I am very happy to report that my …

Putting Together a Poetry Manuscript

I was recently asked by a good friend of mine for some assistance with assembling her poetry manuscript. Apparently, she's heard that I'm pretty decent at it. Where she heard that? I haven't a clue!

But it got me to thinking -- how does it all come together?

It's kind of a mysterious process, but it doesn't have to be so mysterious! Anyway, I thought it might be helpful to share MY process. Maybe it'll work for you, too?

So for my first poetry manuscript, The Garden, Uprooted, was actually a real challenge to assemble. I had a pile of poems on my lap. And they were precious poems to me, they were really all I had as a writer. You see, when you put together your first poetry manuscript, you're pouring in years of learning the craft. These are the poems I grew with, learned from... they are the ones who chronicle my journey from wannabe to... well poet!

Luckily, I had a lot of support when it came to pulling it all together. This manuscript was actually my th…

Poetry Community... How Important is it?

So, I had a pretty lovely weekend.

My new editor (oh how I love typing this... not that I don't absolutely love old editor, who isn't old at all... who is actually still my editor, but now I have two... oh man this is wild) invited me to his home this weekend for a poet's dinner. I had such a wonderful time! I wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't want to be, you know, that tacky girl at the end of the table throwing peace signs and giggling on about Facebook y mas.
Anyway, I mean, it's not a big deal, right? Getting together with a small group of friends, sharing a meal -- it all sounds pretty standard. But... you know, there's something magical that happens when a bunch of poets get together and talk, and... er... drink. Our discussion topics started off pretty prim and proper, but quickly got into the nitty gritty silliness about maracas, naked Saturdays, and tequila. It was really nice to get together, to get to know some of the poets in my local communit…

Maybe It's the Weather

But today I was having one of those days.

You know the type -- when you have an exuberant amount of crushing self doubt? It happened to me today as I was driving home for lunch. You see, I'm working on this poem, and... I started thinking to myself -- ugh, I'm nothing but a big ugly ball of cliches. And when I write poems, I'm doing nothing but piling up a big ol' skein of words that have already been written, and regurgitating them, Katie style.

How utterly depressing, right?

And then I started thinking about my NaNo manuscript. Who would ever want to read it? It's pathetic, and stupid, and also a bunch of plot cliches all wrapped up together and spit out mixed with my very acidic stomach fluid. I wanted to throw my USB drive in the toliet in one big emo temper tantrum.

Ack. Self doubt. I hate it.

But I'm working through it.

How about a sexy tidbit about trees? You know you love it:

But even trees rejoice the snow’s

arrival, leaves of oaks fall to
the ground …

Wrapping Up My First Semester Teaching

Ok, so it's not completely my first semester TEACHING, but teaching college students.

Tomorrow's my last day with the kiddos -- they're turning in their final writing portfolios and it will definitely prove to be bittersweet.On the one hand, yay, I did it! And I feel amazingly proud of what I've accomplished. I came into this semester slightly unsure of myself. I was nervous, mainly because I've been working so hard to get to this point, to be a college instructor. And what if I hated it? What if it was hard, and horrible, and what if the students were awful and mean to me and made me cry?

But... in the end, I had a wonderful semester. I got to know my students, and I hope they learned a thing or two from me! But perhaps moreso, I learned from them. I learned that I am capable of doing this, and that teaching is something I'm good at -- something that makes me feel alive. I love being in a classroom. I'm an attention whore -- all eyes on me please! :-)

And …

Big News!

Today there was cause for dancing in my office...

I have just received word that Slough Press will be publishing my first full manuscript of poems!

I had to read the email about fifty million times before the news sank in.

And then, I couldn't breathe :)

Tenetively, it's titled The Garden, Uprooted. I'm not married to the title, so let's see what editor has to say.

Oh my I'm just so unbelievably excited!

But you know what else I feel?

Suspiciously empty.

This manuscript's been in the works since 2007... that's four years of writing, crafting, editing, musing, loving, and hating. I've gone through about a million zillion drafts... And now... it's off in the hands of a very able editor... but it's out of my hands...

I'm having some type of... seperation anxiety from my poems!

I totally need to get over it.

Back to the happy dancing! :D

You know there will be many more details to come!

NaNoWriMo VICTORY!

Image
Victory! Victory! It tastes so unbelievably sweet :-)
Ahhh... so I did the mad dash to 50K words, and my novel isn't done. Here are a few things I learned from NaNoWriMo:
1. Writing a novel is very, very different from a poetry manuscript
How so? Ugh... writing a novel is all about consistancy, about keeping the creative energy flowing.
Poetry, on the other hand, is about bursts of brilliance, and then expanding on them. When I was working on my novel, I never had that frustrating "writer's block" I get with poetry. I'd just meditate on my novel's central images, and the words would keep flowing.
2. Noveling is like writing poetry!
LOL don't you love the way I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself ;)
No, but in all seriousness, at times I would treat my prose like poetry, and that's when the magic would happen. I think poets can make great novelists. I'm a poet, but certainly not a "great novelist," yet anyway. Which brings me…