Of the internet places I haunt, one is the Queens MFA zoetrope message board and another connected board for author Mary Akers where someone posted a topic along the lines of –How did 2007 treat ya–
The idea was to look at how many submissions you had done and how many acceptances you had. I posted mine for 2007 and then I went back and decided to look at all the years I have track (note the infamous gap from 2000 to 2006 when I “gave up” writing).
I’m not really a number cruncher but I think the 1996-2000 are interesting. I sent out about once a month (I didn’t differentiate between fiction and non-fiction because I didn’t send a lot of fiction out and none was accepted) and had two “good” year sandwiching in three mediocre years. But I will note of those that in all of those a lot of the publications were small presses and/or the student run publications on campus (up through 1998). So how legit are those numbers? When the numbers are 7 and 8% (and the numbers now) I am largely sending to more well-known presses. Also of note a lot of the acceptances before 2000 never even saw print because the magazines “poofed.”
I’m actually happier with the numbers for 2006 and 2007. They show an increase in submissions and an increase in acceptances. I don’t expect my 2008 submissions to be much above that. I send out poems about once a week and then I may have a small increase because I am trying to send out more copies of my chapbook, more fiction and the first attempts at sending non-fiction.
What would I like to see when I look back at 2008? 4 different poetry magazines accepted, 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction. If the world was really generous my chapbook would get picked up and/or be a finalist in a contest. That would be kewl. And if these numbers don’t match up exactly going up to 6 or 7% acceptance would also be nice.
I’m glad this idea was presented to me. Gives me something to think about. Good luck to everyone in their submitting year. But most of all–to the writing
1996 14 sent 3 accepted 20% small presses
1997 14 sent 1 accepted 7% same
1998 13 sent 1 accepted 8% same
1999 13 sent 1 accepted 8% same
2000 13 sent 2 accepted 15% same
2006 31 sent 1 accepted 3% mid range to well-known presses
2007 60 sent 3 accepted, some pending 5% as above
Well, I always like to get my taxes done early. I had everything I needed, or so I thought. As I went through TurboTax as usual I realized that I was missing forms from the bank about an approved 401K withdrawl for education, but I had kept good enough records to figure it all out.
The most confusing part was writing up the HSA medical account nonsense. I don’t know if it really helped me but I wanted to make sure I covered all my basis. Good news–First year EVER we are getting money back (going back to school and only working half a year will do that I guess) but Bad news–I have to paper file b/c TurboTax is having some huge technical issue which I just now realized means I need to photocopy all the W-2′s and such. Ugh. What a mess. Oh crap, and I told my husband he didn’t need to print his. Well, now he does. Or maybe I can get around it…hmmmm..
Daydreaming. I’ve always been a daydreamer. I think that is where my first poems came from as I sat on the long bus ride home making up stories and songs about dandelions, run down sheds, electric fences etc. But at times daydreaming can be dangerous. I find myself, at times, planning various aspects of my future. Here I am finally writing a novel or a screenplay that I get paid for. That keeps me from having to work a “regular” job. Then I publish more poetry, then people are just begging me to come teach at seminars. I travel, have enough cash to get by.
But then I remember who I am. I was the kid in school who had to work really hard to get good grades. Who found out what she thinks was her IQ–once–and it wasn’t great but I could still work hard. Who knows she has bad grammar and is a terrible speller but still wants to write.
And in writing this, just giving myself a reality check I won’t stop writing like I did when I was 25 and realized I wasn’t getting published (at that time) just because I don’t have a lot of publications now. But I’ll still hold a little hope deep down, away from my writing, that maybe someday I will have done enough with the publishin world to support myself by being a teacher, or lecturer or something of that nature.
Is that too much to ask?
I decided to post early today (partially in lieu of avoiding my most hated chore–cleaning the bathroom but mostly) because I finished reading Michael Parker’s If You Want Me to Stay.
This week I have completed quite a few books I had in progress, but I only really post about ones that I felt a connection to.
I’m not sure if I would really call this a review but more a response and a summary of myself as related to the book.
I first met Michael Parker (well met is probably a strong word as I will explain) when he came to speak to a few of my classes in high school. I remember him reading portions of his short stories to us in at least my 9th grade Creative Writing class and I also think my 10th grade American Lit class, but of the 2nd I can’t be completely sure. At the time he was writer-in-residence (I believe) at the local community college–College of the Albemarle. We were so impressed to be in the presence of a real writer. I was too shy, of course, to have ever actually spoken to him but his visits stuck with me. His visits to class would have been around 89-91 at the latest.
When I went away to college in 1993, Michael Parker’s name came up again. Here he was now teaching at UNCG! I picked up his novel “Hello Down There” which, of great fun, has references to the Eastern NC setting where I grew up. I enjoyed that novel but I never had the opportunity to have a class with Parker while at UNCG. I think he mainly teaches in the MFA program. I do remember writing a note about how much I liked the novel and putting it under his office door like I was some kind of strange fan. Probably good I haven’t met him!
I picked up this novel at the Spring NC Writer’s Conference fully intending to get it signed but I didn’t stay for the whole conference. Look how long it took me to get to the book! It was not disappointing. As with his other novel that I have read, there is a strong narrator’s voice and wonderful language choices. There is something funny within this sad story of youth and family dysfunction. I wish I had kept up with the author’s career more because now, while searching for a bio, I realize he has short story collections as well as other novels. Sigh. More books to buy!
Now I can add into my pile of things to read one I have really been wanting to get to The Traveling Disease by Susan Woodring which I bought quite a few months ago. I recall the weather was warm. She is a Queens Alumni and a super nice person. Double good reasons to give this one a read!
I will let anything and everything distract me from doing the housework. I have finished my reading, my writing and my walk for the day. I have no excuses. It is only 3:40 in the afternoon (I got up earlier than usual) and I know what I should start on, but….is there possibly anything else I can do besides cleaning? Seriously?
No. I need to hunker down and just do it, because I already went too long without vacumming (like 2 weeks) and the poor cat rolled over during play and had little pieces of notebook or something in her fur. Hmmm…maybe I should just keep her out of the office!
Hope everyone is making it through Hump Day. This week is going by too quick for me!
My husband was home yesterday from both of his jobs so we took in the movie “Cloverfield” and then spent most of the day just watching TV, including several specials about Martin Luther King.
After we watched the specials, I kept thinking why am I using this day of rememberance to watch movies and bum? Do I have any right to do that? I have the equivalent of survivors guilt sometimes. Hearing about Dr. King makes me want to do something. I am regularly thinking of what I could do for the world if I could just win the lottery (of course I never play!) and didn’t have to worry about money.
I used to do volunteer work when I was in high school and I have done bits here are there as an adult (mostly charity walks), but I want something that isn’t intermittent. I have that cheesy need to make a difference, to have my “career path” in some sense be about helping. But how does one really do that?
Just what I was thinking of yesterday. Which with having a day off really makes today like Monday as I try to get my “work” caught up. The house needs serious attention, and that is coming soon. At least I have finished all my writing and reading for the day as well as a good hour long walk. Just leaves the chores…the chores…the chores.
I haven’t done much at all in the way of reading and writing today.
I met some of my former co-workers for lunch and that time went too fast.
My co-workers (most of them) are the only thing I miss about my old job.
Afterwards I took my normal walk but also decided after, yet another, foot spasm to replace my walking shoes. I have two pairs I alternate but I have been having foot pain with both.
After shoe shopping I decided to hit another mall and to try and finally replace my hoodie I lost on campus during residency as well as try on a pair of jeans as I only have three. I pretty much live in jeans now (of note–if I was still working–my old employer has FINALLY removed dress code, sigh).
At the Lane Bryant outlet I managed to buy a pair of jeans a full size smaller than what I have now! Woo hoo! I also purchased three sweater hoodies for the price of the other hoodie I found somewhere else but I was reluctant to get because of the price.
Score for me! But now it is supposedly going to snow tomorrow which will mean being trapped in the house, most likely by myself as my husband will have to work Stinky.
But I guess, that would give me time to write!