Saturday, June 5, 2010

South Florida Poems and Pictures

I have two poems up at the South Florida edition of Poets and Artists. You can read the entire issue here. I'm on page 73. Special thanks to Terry Lucas, who alerted me to the call for submissions. Twenty years ago, before everything was so Internetized, none of this would have happened. I probably wouldn't be in touch with Terry Lucas, because we came to know of each other through our online presences and poems and Facebook. The issue wouldn't have been published because it's too beautiful/multi-colored to be able to afford a large print run on paper. It's one of the more gorgeous settings in which my poems have found themselves.

The thing which scared me most about acceptance is that I had to send in 3-5 high resolution pictures taken in a picturesque Florida setting. I have a complicated relationship with photographs of me. I want to look beautiful and mysterious, yet also I want to look like the kind of woman everyone wants to know and have for a friend. I want to look warm. I want to look thin. I want to look glamorous. I want everyone to look at my picture and say, "I want to be her"; I want not to be so shallow that I care this much about what people think of a silly photo of me.

Plus there was that issue of resolution. I was told the picture needed to be high resolution 300 dpi. I spent time researching and trying to figure out what that meant. I explored lots of aspects of my camera. Finally, I just sent the picture below to the magazine editor, with a simple note asking if the resolution was high enough.

That's me, on a canoe in the Everglades. What could be more typically South Florida than that? Plus, my face isn't showing. What better way to be mysterious?

The magazine editor wrote back to say that the resolution was fine, but this picture wasn't the kind of thing she would use in the magazine. More panic in my head.

So, I spent more time with the older issues of the magazine, only this time, I wasn't looking at the types of poems published, but at the pictures of the artists and writers. I went through all the photos on the computer, seeing if I already had something that could work, or if I would need to schedule a photo shoot with my spouse as photographer.

The picture below is taken at the Morikami Museum and Gardens in Boca Rotan. Careful readers will note that the photo of me that appears on the cover is a cropped version of this photo.

My favorite picture that I submitted wasn't used. It's the one below. I like the shadows. I like how happy I look.

I also like it because it reminds me of the time it was taken. I cropped the picture below.

Don't we look like a glamorous young couple with a toddler? It's not our toddler; that's my nephew, Jack, in 2008, when he came to visit with his mom, my sister. We went to Le Tub, a Hollywood restaurant that's more dock and picnic tables than fancy eating place. It's on the Intracoastal Waterway, and we thought that Jack would like being near the water and the boats. He did, almost too much. We took turns hanging on to him so that he didn't fall/jump into the water.
It's interesting to me how this quest for publication leads to learning experiences of all kinds. I've learned to work with the software that lets me manipulate photos (although I didn't change my haircolor or make myself thinner; I mainly learned how to trim and crop, and how to move pictures from various places to a folder on my computer). I've thought more about photos, what they mean to me and how I want to present myself to the outside world; for example, I had several pictures that I rejected because of a beer bottle in front of me. I don't think there's anything wrong with drinking beer, but I did think about the ways that kind of photo could come back to haunt me. I even worried about the ashtray in one of the above photos.
This experience has also led me to think about the ways that easier, cheaper computing (the Internet, digital cameras, faster home computers) has made all sorts of things possible that wouldn't have been as easy 20 years ago. I bemoan the possible loss of books and the paper publishing world, but I'm excited by the worlds that the Internet and our digital age open up to us.

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