I often realize that work intrudes when my dreams are set in the workplace, when I'm doing mundane tasks even in my dreams. Yes, I've had that kind of week.
When I don't have as much creative time as I'd like, I often find that my e-mails at work become more creative. Here's what I wrote to my full-time faculty on Thursday:
"If you don’t want to be part, it’s perfectly fine. Please send me an e-mail that says, “I would prefer not to.” I will smile at your reference to Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener,” whilst trying to avoid an existential crisis wondering if I really am a character in a Melvillian work—hopefully not Ahab! Hopefully not Ishmael! Will I alone survive to tell the tale?
Don’t read anything into that last question! It’s a reference to the end of Moby Dick. I think. It’s been awhile since I read that tome."----------------------------------
And it's been a tough week because I got a rejection. Copper Canyon Press said no to my book length collection of poems.
It was a lovely rejection e-mail, one that let me know that they really had read the book:
"Thank you for submitting "Ash Wednesday at the Trinity Test Site" to Copper Canyon Press. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to consider it. The work strikes a compelling balance between apocalyptic fallouts and dishwasher clatter -- we enjoyed your exploration of what's at stake in the drama of the every day.
As you know, we publish a limited number of titles each year, and unfortunately we have not selected "Ash Wednesday at the Trinity Test Site" for publication; it's not the best fit for our list. However, we wish you the best of luck as you move forward with this and other creative projects. Thanks again."
I knew it was a long shot when I sent them the manuscript. Sadly, every submission is a long shot. There are so many great manuscripts out there and so little opportunities.
I'm also sad because I'm beginning to feel that should this manuscript ever find a home, it might be the only collection of poems I publish--at least at this rate. I've been working on this manuscript for 10 years now. It's a very different manuscript from 10 years ago. For more on that idea, see this post from February.
But to end on a happier note: when I was scrolling through my Feb. entries, looking for posts about that latest revision, I came across this post and the line "be the asteroid": "I heard a scientist say that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs; this time, we're the asteroid. What does it mean to be the asteroid?"
I have just written a poem that delights me, a poem that repeats this line, a line I might never have remembered if not for that blog post.