Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Day of Self-Doubt: Despair and Submission

Yesterday was a day of self-doubt, which is very strange.  What happened to my younger self, who blithely mailed off poetry packets and manuscripts to every sort of publisher?  What happened to my younger self who applied for jobs that she had a slim chance of getting?

Well, she often didn't realize how miniscule her odds were.  That helped her be fearless.  And even when she realized, she didn't care.

The day of self-doubt began on Thursday, when I looked at the Copper Canyon catalog to determine what books I'd want to receive when I paid my manuscript submission fee.  I noticed how few women poets they had published.  Sigh.

Then I started that dangerous pattern of thought, the what's-the-point downhill slide.

I put off submitting on Friday morning, as I had planned to do.  I called a librarian friend who has gone on to work at our local community college.  She talked about their recent round of interviews for a new librarian and the presentations that they had done.  She talked about presentation platforms with which I'm not familiar (haiku deck???).

I had felt proud of myself for learning Prezi.  But if I'm being honest, a Powerpoint is still a Powerpoint to me.  I've seen very few that add much.

Then I started feeling despair, like I would never be asked to give a presentation if I couldn't figure out a way to use this software.  My despair got worse:  how would I ever find another job if I couldn't interview and use fancy software at the same time.

Yes, it sounds goofy in the light of a different day.  I suspect I'm not the only one who is not impressed with software.  I suspect I'm not the only one who has seen how presentations with slideshows can go terribly wrong.  People like me are likely to be part of committees who choose amongst candidates for jobs, for presentations, for opportunities of all sorts.

Still, on Friday afternoon, I didn't send my manuscript to Copper Canyon.  The despair was still in force. 

I came home and told my husband about my despair and my temptation not to submit.  He snorted and said, "Absolutely you should send in your manuscript."

And so, I shall do that.  And I'll continue to try to stay current with technology, although I think I'm fighting a losing battle.

The only comfort:  we're all fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping up with technology.  I talked to one of my younger colleagues, a woman who is 30.  I was cheered to find out that she still uses Powerpoint.  She said that she hasn't seen a compelling reason yet to make the switch. 

And like me, she's a big believer that fewer slides are better. 

But for today, it's back to old technology:  printed words on pieces of paper.  I'll spend the week-end giving my manuscript one last check.  And Monday morning, I will send it out.

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