Post-Revision Gloating and Some Good News (A Blog Post That Features Writing! Hurrah!)
Finally, as of this past weekend, I am finished revising, and proofreading, the fairy tale. No more numbers to report, unless it's to say that this week I sent out copies of the final version of my complete manuscript to four different first-book contests, and submitted individual poems to three literary journals.
There is such relief in having come this far, and real satisfaction, too. It feels strange to be the only one of my writer-friends who has gone through the process of writing and working towards a book manuscript at least three separate times, since my early twenties, and have nothing to show for it. I never managed to finish a collection. I didn't even have a complete manuscript that failed the contest circuit and had to be squirreled away and mourned over and forgotten -- I always lost faith in my work before I could reach that point.
To have managed to come this far: to have completed the work, to have the final product, and to actually still like it -- this is nothing short of miraculous for me, and something of a victory. It took four years for this book to be finished. I began writing those first sow poems in the summer of 2008, when I was pregnant with The Boy (who just turned four himself, on Wednesday!). Of course, my efforts weren't as concentrated during the first three years as they have been for the past one. It does feel a little like I've been running some kind of race for the past year and a half, and now I'm shuffling along the track, past the finish line, cooling down. If I wasn't knocked up right now, I'd have spent at least one night this week swigging back some sort of bubbly.
Of course, I'll still be working with the manuscript -- there are places to send the book in October, and more of its poems to send out to magazines -- but I won't be working on the manuscript. In January, a whole slew of first-book contests open up for submissions . . . so it's not like I'm putting it away and forgetting about it. But the book won't consume my every waking thought like it has for the past two months as I've worked towards this -- being finished. Finally. I actually finished something. I actually really-truly mother-fucking finished something. Yes, grammar nazis, the split infinitives are necessary. And, of course, the obscenities. I do love my obscenities.
If I weren't so far behind in grading (already!) and all things school-related I suppose I'd feel pretty calm right now. Actually, I do feel pretty calm -- calm for me. But it's tinged with some weariness, because there's quite a stack of papers waiting for me and I feel like I may have to sacrifice some writing time in order to get them all finished. (I mean, I probably won't sacrifice a lot of writing time, because while I've become disciplined with my writing schedule I really haven't become any more disciplined -- after ten years of teaching -- with my grading. Damn, I truly loathe grading.)
In the meantime, as I bury myself in checking off quizzes and assignments about MLA documentation and reading those mostly-awkward first papers of the semester, I'll feel buoyed by this good feeling of finally finishing the book and, also, this little bit of joy:
Verse Daily reprinted one of my poems! I found out Wednesday, via an email from Jessica Faust, the lovely poetry editor of The Southern Review, that they'd picked "Why Our Mothers Panic" out of the Spring 2012 issue of TSR to feature on the site TODAY. As of RIGHT NOW, it's up there! I'm super-flattered and very excited. It's an out-of-the-blue, wholly unexpected bit of luck that makes this week feel a little like Christmas.
It's cool, too, to see that not only is TSR showcased, but that A.P.'s excellent online lit-mag (I'm not just a little biased) Best Poem might also get some attention -- if people actually read my poem and care to find out about me -- because the editors of Verse Daily included a link to the poem he published on the site under my biographical information. Also, they included a link to this blog. God help the poor saps who click on that link. Amaright, people? *wink wink, nudge nudge* Amaright?
Ahem. Time to go tackle that grading.
P.S. I awoke super early this morning -- five -- because the puppy actually slept through the night! Uninterrupted sleep is so, so awesome. So awesome that I woke up feeling euphoric once I realized I hadn't been up at midnight, and then at 2:30 in the morning. Yay sleep! (And yes, sleep is part of the Good News.)