After a nearly glorious day yesterday when I walked along the beach with my son, who is visiting, today it's back to rain. A bit of a blow to find that a fourth leak seems to have developed in the conservatory roof. Oh dear. Something expensive is going to have to happen soon. I work in there!
This week more submissions have been flooding in and I've been trying to stem the flow (sorry, imagery of water is leaking into this blog against my will) while doing conversations about daughter's wedding, picking up son from airport, doing hair and dentist stuff, putting bowls under leaks, sorting out Sphinx reviews and ... oh but I'll say something about the Sphinx reviews before I float off onto another subject.
Remember the new review scheme? This time three reviewers each return a response on a publication, as well as a stripe rating. Some of these have started to cohere now and it is absolutely fascinating. However, it's a time-consuming task editing them into shape and amalgamating the ratings. I'm also spending quite a lot of time just putting things into envelopes, sending more new pamphlets to reviewers as they arrive. Soon I'll make the first set of reviews available.
Issue 11 of the magazine is also coming along nicely but isn't likely to make a splash before late September and possibly October. It'll be worth waiting for.
Another distraction, one I hardly dare mention, was item 23 on my list 'Sort out Own Poems'. It's more straightforward to respond to other people's poems than do something with your own and I'm rapidly turning into one of those poets who will have left a very long gap after their first collection. It gives me particular pleasure to work on an individual poem when I'm lucky enough to have one arrive. But wading through them en masse is a nightmare for me: it feels like diving. I go down so deep under poem-water that I fear I might not come up again.
Facing up to what the really special thing of your writing life actually looks like - your poetry - that is very scary. Because sometimes you're worried to find it looks like . . . not much. Little scraps of text, which once seemed so vital. And now, placed next to each other on the floor, what do they look like? They don't particularly get on with each other. And some of them end with the same word! Bugger, evidence of an obsessive mentality. If somebody sent them to me, I would probably reject them. Oh but not that one -- I do have a fondness for that one. And so on . . .
I am horrified to to find how much water has flowed under the bridge. I have a big ring binder divided into sections. The first section is Pigeons out - that's copies of the poems that have been sent to magazines and for which I'm waiting a response. It's currently empty.
The second section is Pigeons returned -- that's the rejected poems. It's pretty deep.
Then there's a section called Fledglings, completed poems that haven't been sent anywhere yet. Here I'm in deep water because I am very bad at finding time to do this. (Some of the fledglings haven't even made it into the Fledgling folder.)
At the back, there's Relegates, which is poems I've more or less decided should be submerged forever, but can't bear to rip up.
There's a separate binder for Pigeons with Homes, into which I transfer accepted poems.
Happily, after about 18 years of doing this (I started late), Poems with Homes now take up three binders. Less happily, I could not believe the amount of Relegates there are. There are just as many Relegates as there are Homes. And some of those Relegates took weeks of my life -- or that's how I remember it.
Anyway, I have at least fished out those poems from which I could draw a second collection, though I haven't decided which will sink and which might swim in formation. And I have a second set of unsuitables too, for More Unsuitable Poems, an idea that was floated last year but was subsequently lost at sea.
Meanwhile, visitors come and go, roofs leak, the grass needs cutting, the summer jam hasn't been made, four pamphlets are still in draft form, the tap in the kitchen shakes the whole house and MUST be replaced soon, the new 'poetry-cards' are in the melting pot but at least the one for the wedding has been done and the red envelopes ordered, some of the graphics for the new pamphlets are here from Gillian and I have been messing about with covers but haven't finalised any yet. How DO other people manage all the things in their lives? It would be so much easier if I didn't have to sleep.
- Chris and me near Lower Largo with the SUN SHINING!