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“And then suddenly there was no more music only the scratching of the needle on the revolving disc.” Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point
I have reached a significant milestone in my writerly life. I have made my last submission for publication consideration. The process wherein I have tried to discover by research or happenstance a literary journal or arts review that seemed to publish poems and stories with similar styles and sensibilities as my own. That sounds more professional than it really was for me which is not to say I wasn't earnest in my efforts. I wanted to be published. It's thrilling to see my words in print or online--words wrought with the hope of doing them justice, words accompanying my name into the marketplace to be scrutinized.
My name. Jonathan H. Scott. The "H" is for Harold. That's right kindergarten gigglers, junior high smirkers--Harold after my grandfather who died just weeks before I was born. I am proud to have my name out there, just think, my name known briefly and even though in the tiny world where poetry is deemed to still serve purposes, to even still exist in proper terms.
Some writers insist they write solely for its own sake. How else bail-out "the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions" (William Wordsworth) when it sloshes into the hulls of our moody souls? And I trust those people, never mind the tongue in my cheek. How else trust my own motives when I've been so willing to set my writing adrift into the unforgiving sea of jaded editors with languishing graduate degrees.
To get back to it, I have made my last submission. At some sooner or later point, I will receive my last rejection; at some point, sure, an acceptance might roll-in, against all odds, and if posthumously then . . . what a gas! An acceptance will come, theoretically, which will be my last; if fact, I may well have already received it. certainly the next will be my last. Don't worry, instructions will be left to the executor of my authorial endeavors as to how to gratefully accept the honor and patiently await the one or two contributors copies in which my work will appear. In my mailbox . . . hint: It opens on hinges, protects bawdy catalogs from the elements.
I am somewhat saddened by this inevitability. I am somewhat relieved by its arrival. But I am in no way overcome by maudlin sentiment. I'm fine, literature will be fine, poetry will survive, as will my name. Fur and far.
Nonetheless, saddened. Because, I am leaving a community of unwitting compatriots, all of us striving to achieve a modicum or more of our dreams to write and call ourselves writers and, having dared as much already, continue to write. Each of us annealed by the vagaries in our tiny worlds of observation and reportage--the poetry and the process.
Nonetheless, relieved. Because the process consumed the poetry. It became a chore: the scouring of my catalog for decent poems, the winnowing of those for good poems, the sieving of which leaves presently personal favorites vulnerable as advance guard for the merely
decent. It's just a whole ordeal, is all I'm saying, a chore of laundry proportions.
Nonetheless, not overcome by sentiment. Because at the end of the day, herecat the end of this authorette era of mine, time is sparse, wearing gossamer, and probably best spent determining its value and determined to spend it accordingly.
This farcical poem that I wrote several years should have given me sooner pause. (It has to have been several years; just look at the nods the USPS and paper products.)
The tongue that is cut by licking the gummy envelope
Is the one bitten when others speak of credits.
Include a brief biography, awards, previous publications—
No problem, finished, now what?
Self (as opposed to an agent) Addressed (as in to my parent’s house)
Stamped (as in Scarlet Letter) Envelope (the noun, not the verb)
Never the verb in the world of things--
One who stuffs words
Into little spaces like so much
cushioning into the throw (as in away)
The tongue that praises the not-the-licky-kind postage stamp
Is the one in the cheek of the aspiring (as in lungs filling with water)
Writer who writes
Thank you for your consideration (deliberation over the extent to which appreciation
Is to be regarded)
I look forward (where else?) to hearing from you soon (before I die).
My name here.