February 06, 2002

It's February, a time of rest and preparation, according to the wise and wonderful Nathan Whiting.

I'm lost in the dark,
lost in many colors.
Confusion grabs
a searchlight's phantom flashes.
Lost in blue
a bat would scream
and measure dotted answers.
A silent owl slips
through maples
without bottom. Who searches?
Whatever I am
won't find a way easy.
I turn again.
Insects scatter. Days disrobe
and fall dead,
but remain a map without rest"

wow, Nathan has a web presence (but not computer).
"Poet Nathan Whiting (This Slave Dreads Her Work As If She Were A Lamb Commanded to be A Musician, Hanging Loose Press, 1980) also simplifies the submission process by numbering his poem groupings, with the titles of all the poems in a group listed under a corresponding number. He keeps this list of numbers in the same notebook that contains the original, handwritten versions of the poems, where there is little chance it will get lost. Each time he sends a group poems to a magazine, he records the magazine's name next to the appropriate number.

Whiting tends to send out five or six poems at a time. If a magazine accepts one or two poems, he'll sometimes simply add one or two new poems to the grouping. If magazine accepts several poems from a group, he's likely to merge the rejected poems with a few unaccepted poems from another group.

Whiting lists the magazines again on a second sheet where he records the date sent, group number, date returned, comments, and an approximate date to send to that magazine again (or he could enter "never" here). This process makes resubmitting to magazines almost automatic, because editors often give a clue as to when they'd like to see work again. If he gets an encouraging note from an editor, he'll want to resubmit sooner. For other magazines he'll enter a question mark. Going through this list periodically, he can spot what magazines are due for new poems. He's also developed a color-coded process to spot things more easily: if a magazine rejects all poems, he puts a black pencil line through the entry; if a magazine accepts one of his poems, he puts a red line through the entry and if magazine is not currently reading manuscripts, he puts a blue line through. He places a purple check next to the entry if he's saved an editor's note in a separate correspondence file."

as for me, I think I'd best stop putting the cart before the horse. it is time to clean my flat, take yoga, shred outdated lists, and act with clear intent. I have some computer and website maintenance to do and also a new freelance assignment. I need to return some letters, make some phone calls, polish some writing, and focus. Preparation, for Nathan, is not acting (also dovetails with merc retrograde in capricorn. this week, merc will go direct just as Saturn goes direct and the chinese new year follows. all of these symbols reinforce one another; proceed slowly, with integrity, attend to unfinished business, and clear a space for the new.) Preparation is a pause, a gathering, a combination of organization and intuition heightened by practice (preparation is dance class, as opposed to applying for a gig).

And, also from nathan:: More pride, less ego.

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