I got good news this week: although I didn't win the New Voices competition, Finishing Line Press will publish my third chapbook, Life in the Holocene Extinction. Hurrah!
Longtime readers may remember that Finishing Line Press also published my second chapbook, I Stand Here Shredding Documents. That was a good experience for me, so I'm happy to have the press publish my third chapbook.
I got the news Tuesday morning--a notification of acceptance from Submittable that told me that an e-mail from the press had been sent. I checked all my e-mail files--no e-mail. Part of me wondered if it might be a mistake, so I didn't tell many people.
Yesterday I got the e-mail from the press--and still, I haven't told many people. I wonder why.
Part of it is that a chapbook is so different from most publications. I understand why this publication is a big deal, but others outside of Creative Writing World might not. I don't want anyone to rain on this parade too soon.
I also don't want to make others feel bad. I know lots of other creative people who are at various stages of their creative trajectories. I want to believe that my good news might give them encouragement that good news might be on the way for them. But I also know it can be discouraging, like the party is always being given for someone else.
There's also some part of me that has internalized a message (from whom?) that I shouldn't break my arm patting myself on the back. I don't want to toot my own horn. It's the reason why I don't do self-publishing--I don't do self-promotion as well as others do.
And there's the matter of how to bring it up. With my creative friends, I sent an e-mail or told the news over lunch. With my colleagues, it's not so easy (see above paragraph about educating about what a chapbook is). Many of my colleagues are still in the midst of various work turmoil from the layoffs of a few weeks ago--how do I casually shift the conversation to good news?
When I got the news on Tuesday, I opened the manuscript to make sure that I hadn't included any poems that might bring trouble. Part of me laughs at this instinct--my adult years should have taught me that I can't be sure of what will bring offense. And as I stated when I got my publishing news of my second chapbook: I can't even be sure that my colleagues will read my e-mails or other relevant writings--and I think they may read my poetry? And then go on to be offended/hurt somehow?
I am still yearning for a book with a spine, but I do love the chapbook too. I interpret this chapbook acceptance as proof that larger collections of my poems are interesting to others. I am hopeful this piece of good news will be the first of many.
And just like last time, I'll document the steps along the way to this 3rd chapbook publication, in case it's of interest/use to others.
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