Friday, July 20, 2007

The Sun published my third poem in three months; Willing, which I wrote, oh, four years ago (although I only found the final lines this year.) I feel like it could make a good art song; I hope C sets it to music.

I'm glad for the publication because left, right, and center, I'm getting rejected. All the essays I wrote this spring with airy confidence that they would finance the Malawi trip, are languishing, "not quite right" for whatever editors I sent them to. "Not quite right," the dating equivalent of "Not enough chemistry," or "It's not you, it's me."

Today, C and I played basketball in the blazing sun, guarding each other hard (alright: fouling,) using elbows, pinching, tickling, jostling. (Honesty compels me to admit that I may have fouled him a few more times than he fouled me, however this was justified because his arms are two feet longer than mine are, plus he's taller.)

We both shoot about the same I think, that is, okay. No one in the NBA need lose any sleep; their jobs are safe from us. But C took more shots than me, and thus had more misses, but also made more baskets. I tell myself that's what's happening now with sending out and publishing. I'm taking more shots, thus getting rejected more.

And, as with everything, so much depends on timing. A few days ago I showed C some new lyrics I'd developed; he was preoccupied and didn't have a very enthusiastic response. Today he read them carefully and now he thinks they're great and has started writing great music to go with them.

I sent my friend Suzanne My Hot Tub With Andrea, She's a good director who directed a reading of Kaddish back in '04 or '05. She didn't like Andrea at all--in fact, she didn't like either of the characters, the set-up, the dialogue, or anything about the play.

On the other hand, Carla loves the play. Ellen loves the play. Nike loves the play--and all of them are pretty sharp critics who would not lie to me. So I'm thinking maybe Suzanne was preoccupied when she read it--maybe she didn't give it enough of her attention. Or maybe it's just not for her. Or maybe the play does suck--that is always a possibility. At any rate, my mantra remains the same: just keep going.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see your work in The Sun so often I had concluded that you were golden, and never had your work rejected. At least, not by The Sun, right? They seem to publish the same people over and over, not just you, but other names also pop up again and again. The Sun seems closed to "newer" writers. Maybe some of the other magazines are the same way, too, but in those cases you are on the outside looking in, like me. Sorry to sound so cynical, but it comes from hard times and experience. Teagrapple

mermaid said...

Something tells me that you are as open in your real life as you are online and with submissions. Nakedness, without the protection of layered clothing can send all kinds of sensations through the skin and right to the soul of creativity. It must be tough to do it for a living, but I am proud of your risks and what that may say more deeply about you as a person beyond your writing.

One of my favorite Zen quotes is “Pain in inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

You must cope in your own way, and in your own way you will choose to create again.

mermaid said...

Just read that poem. I guess there is 'good' and 'bad' poetry, but I'm realizing it should never define the writer as a 'good' or 'bad' person.

Alison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison said...

Hi Teagrapple,

(What an interesting name!) I do get my work rejected, all the time, as most working writers do. The Sun doesn't publish everything I write--they only take about 10 % or less of the work I send them, and often not the things I want them to take, but the things that Sy likes. I don't believe The Sun is closed to newer writers, although I appreciate your frustration at trying to break in. Editors are idiosyncratic in what they accept--editors in general, not just Sy Safransky. The very same piece that gets rejected in one place may win a prize someplace else. My getting published does not equal less opportunities for you.

Best of luck,
Alison

Gillian Kendall said...

Ali,
I could certainly identify with what you wrote about recent rejections. Though THE ("Thank God for the") SUN has my interview this month, that comes after a long string of no's or no's for now from them. It surprised me that you have had much the same experience lately. I was surprised because nearly each time I see one of your poems (sent to THE SUN's subs), I think, "She is just getting stronger and stronger." You are the only poet I know who goes from strength to strength in front of me, Ali...your work has always been amusing, readable, charming -- but it is now also DEEP and wise and profoundly beautiful.

Gillian Kendall said...

Ali,
I could certainly identify with what you wrote about recent rejections. Though THE ("Thank God for the") SUN has my interview this month, that comes after a long string of no's or no's for now from them. It surprised me that you have had much the same experience lately. I was surprised because nearly each time I see one of your poems (sent to THE SUN's subs), I think, "She is just getting stronger and stronger." You are the only poet I know who goes from strength to strength in front of me, Ali...your work has always been amusing, readable, charming -- but it is now also DEEP and wise and profoundly beautiful.

Alison said...

Thanks, Gillian darling! Yes, The (thank God for the) SUN rejects me quite a lot--I just send them such a volume of stuff that it's not easily apparant. And no doubt some of the stuff they reject is not ready for prime time. "Willing" (under another title, and with another ending,) is a poem I had sent to them and gotten rejected years ago.

I'm glad you feel like the work is getting deeper. I think so, hope so too, but it's harder to see it when it's yourself--I'm too close to the whole process. It's lovely when your friends reflect it back to you.

I LOVED seeing your name as an INTERVIEWER-- that is so exciting--it's a great subject and wonderful, penetrating questions. I'm so proud of you!!

Love,
Ali

Anonymous said...

thanks for setting the record straight re: your acceptance rate at The Sun. it was interesting to read your comments about submissions and editor's likes/dislikes. i continue to be hopeful that one day i, too, will be a Sun acceptance. :)

winnie