Day #42

Day #42

On January 7th, I decided to spend 50 days working on my next chapbook. Today is day #42. I have written 5 new poems since I started this journey.

I pause to remember when I picked up the pen. It was the summer of 1992 when I decided to write for public consumption. I’d always written for myself but after a few writing classes I started looking towards submitting my work. My first poem was published in the fall of 1992. Shortly afterwards, I stopped writing. I was promoted at my day job and took on a 100% travel assignment. I lived on the road, traveling from city to city, sleeping in hotel after hotel all across the USA.

It wasn’t long after that when I found myself living and traveling overseas for nearly 6 years. I came back to the USA, focused on family, raising 2 wonderful little girls and concentrating on my day job career.

In the Spring of 2013, I was home alone. My wife was traveling, the children grown and gone. I was watching a television show, “Elementary”, and the subject matter of that night’s episode’s caught my attention, my thoughts churned, I looked at the junk mail envelopes laying on the floor. ( I normally go through junk mail while watching TV)

I found a pen, picked up the junk mail envelopes and started writing on them. I wrote for 2 hours that night and that is when it all started again. I’ve been writing ever since.

The Next 50 Days – #45 – Rejection Letters

Day #45 – Rejection Letters

It doesn’t feel good when you receive a rejection letter. It hurts more when you put your heart into the work. It’s like going to the jewelers, doing research on the best ring at the best price your little bit of money can buy, purchasing it, then arranging dinner at a fancy restaurant for two. You arrive, everything’s in place, she’s impressed, you bow, you present the ring, you pop the question…

…and she says, “No.”

That’s how receiving a rejection letter feels sometimes. It hurts more when you don’t know why. You don’t know if you work sucked or if it came close to being considered or was it somewhere in between.

This not a rant because I emphasize with publishers. They don’t have the money to staff up. I get it. Then again if my worked sucked I probably wouldn’t want to hear that feedback anyway.

Most times I brush a rejection off, like brushing a ladybug off my shoulder. Sometimes though, it does hurt. Nonetheless, like that rejected proposer, I close that ring box, finish my meal, kiss her goodnight and bid her farewell.

I keep the ring though. I take it to the jeweler, refine it and make it ready for the next time!

Never stop submitting your work because you received a rejection letter.

Day #47

Day #47

On January 7th, I decided to spend 50 days working on my next chapbook. Today is day #47. I have been working diligently on a new piece titled “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone”. I’m submitting it to Rattle Respond tonight. If accepted, rights will return to me just in time for my book release.

I love this piece and I do believe that it represents some of my best work. I did a lot with punctuation in this piece. I normally don’t use punctuation but lately I have been thinking about using it a lot. What really helped me decide was my taking a look at several poems in said magazine and noticed punctuation in a lot of the poems that the magazine contained. I thought to myself, hmmm, perhaps for this journal and others, my lack of punctuation is holding me back.

I tried adding punctuation to “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone” and I liked how the poem flowed. It looked good. I felt like I was letting the reader know when to slow down, when to pause, when to stop and when to start up again.

I feel like I will be using more punctuation for certain works in the future. We’ll see. I’m done with “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone” for now. Time to rest. I will rest for a day or two, read someone else’s work while I’m resting, watch one of my favorite television shows, etc. After rest, I will pick up the proverbial pen again. See you at my next post.

The Next Fifty Days

The Next Fifty Days

Over the course of the next fifty days I will be working on a new chapbook. Initially, I’d planned on relaunching my first chapbook. My thoughts are leaning towards an entirely different approach now. The chapbook will not be a relaunch. I will focus on writing a new chapbook.

The chapbook will contain:

—poems published by other journals -poems whose rights have returned to me.

—poems which I call “people’s favorites “- poems not published but enjoyed at a variety of public poetry events as well as liked in my website/blog.

—new poems newly written and material already written but never shared

Finally, I may add a personal essay or two. Wish me well as I embark upon this journey. I will post updates periodically.

Part V – Riding the Double Decker

From the Business Travel Log

Part V – Riding the Double Decker

My plane makes a long downwind track past the Whitestone bridge before making a longer arc to face the runway. I think about a long journey I took in 1995 from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow.

The plane from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, to Moscow was not a puddle jumper. It was a huge double decker Russian airliner. It was not the most modern of airliners but it was modern enough. My translator, Sergey, and I rode in first class.

“Jerry, how are you feeling”, asked Sergey.

“This toothache is killing me”, I replied.

“When we get to Moscow we can get some good medicine for you”, said Sergey.

“Zdravstvujtye, chto-nibud’ vypit “, said the handsome lady elegantly dressed in the blue, and white uniform with the long purple velvety scarf draped around her neck.

“I know what she said Sergey. What’s on that cart she’s pushing? I see vodka. Wait, what’s in that tall brown bottle?”

Sergey looks at the cart. “That’s Cognac.”

“French?”, I respond.

“Okay, Jerry, it’s Brandy.

The young lady pops the top of the Brandy after Sergey asks for it. My toothache is pounding.

“Nyet”, I tell her, “just give me the bottle”, I say.

She understood. Her eyes met my grimace. She winced.

Her language quickly switched to English, “Sir, I hope you feel better soon.”

“Spasiba Bolshoi”, I responded.

“Pozhaluysta”, she replied, smiling.

Hearing the wheels of my aircraft lock down awakens me from my daydream of memories.

“We are on our final approach to LaGuardia, please put your seats in the upright position with seatbelts buckled and your tray tables stowed” boomed the flight attendant over the intercom.

I comply. I look out my aircraft window at beauty, I marvel at nature, my heart is thankful, my mind is at peace, my hands are steady, my feet are grounded , my emotions contemplate joy. We touch down. Spasiba Bolshoi, we arrive.

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