I am a BEAST.
Last week Friday, I cranked out a 15 syllable poem for submission to tinywords, a 2K word blog post, and a 3K creative non-fiction essay I submitted to BuzzFeed. If I still smoked, there would have been a cigarette at the end of the day.
The poem that I submitted to tinywords:
lips cherry red body sags
hollow breath she is then released
A 15 syllable poem is a fixed haiku and the layout is as above: two lines, 15 syllables, and double spacing between the breaths.
That shit was hard. You’d think, “Oh, a 15 syllable poem! I can knock that out of the park in a few minutes.” Oh, no no no. There were over half a dozen attempts and about two hours of work into that sucker. (The formatting of the submission page wouldn’t allow for the double spacing between the breaths so each breath is on its own line.)
I’m pretty sure lips cherry red could probably be further tightened, but it is what it is.
See, what else? I submitted another poem, they (we) say, with the theme of “Meditation, Mindfulness, Silence, Stillness, or Solitude” to a poetry contest. A micro-fiction (50 word) piece was submitted to Fifty Word Stories.
Right now I’m working on a prose/poetry thing, swallowing consonants, and a short story, winter has been cancelled.
Not really part of the submission or writing process, but I updated my 50 word bio to include I don’t fucking live in Brooklyn because I’m really tired of every other writer being from Brooklyn.
Why is this flurry of activity different or more succinctly, why should you believe me now that I’m actually working?
Because instead of making an actual big production about writing shit, I sat down and actually wrote some shit and submitted said shit. (And I am nervous about the submissions, because obviously.)
(Let’s take a look at my submission record: Flurry of submissions in August 2015, one each in August and October 2016 then the flurry of submissions beginning of February 2017.)
So, now you’re going to ask, “But how is this time different?”
Two things: I started writing shit down by hand in a notebook and I started to read literary magazines and blogs with actual interest, not just skimming them over to see what they were looking for.
Back in September, I wrote a piece on using a spreadsheet to manage submissions, using Duotrope and my google alerts to grab submission openings and contests across the internets. I sat down and looked at the themes and then I started reading the actual sites and what inspired me was that I saw so many different pieces of writing being published. It wasn’t straight plot / character / linear pieces. There were prose poems, experimental pieces, and short fragments of micro-flash fiction. And I thought, “I can do this. I can write this.”
they (we) say came about by writing shit down, transferring it to Scivener, and then making the parts connect. The handwritten parts at first glance looked like two separate poems but after transcribing them to digital, I saw the connections and I worked those connections until the pieces fit seamlessly.
lips cherry red was a burst of phrases that I worked and reworked on paper, counting syllables, until it felt just right.
swallowed consonants is coming about from free form writing; winter has been cancelled from the idea of, “Well. What if winter had been cancelled? What would the floral and fauna do?”
I have other pieces that were half written or notes were taken and I now look at them and think, “Okay. I can make you work. Where is my pen and notebook.”
(I’m finding working in pencil has been helpful and easier than my usual erasable pen. Go figure.)
And the final third part: Writing has become that drug I need again and does not feel like work.
Thank fucking god.