So, I've been thinking quite a bit about what is means to be a writer, a poet (being outrageously sick gives one time to ponder random shit). Lots of writers seem to blog about whether or not they can claim the "title" (i.e. "writer" or "poet"), and I can't help but wonder why we're all so angsty about the whole thing. I don't know why I feel compelled to blog about this, but it's on my mind tonight.
I figure writing is the act of putting words on paper. If you do that regularly, if you're really passionate about it, then I figure you're a writer. I don't think you need a special degree or a certain number of acceptances in fancy journals--although both of those things are great accomplishments. Often, when writers send submissions to blossombones, they are apologetic about a lack of publication credits or the absence of writing degrees. I want to say: Make no apologies! You put words to paper, send out your work. That's as legitimate as anything else, really. I don't expect you to have a Ph.d. God knows, I don't have one! (Maybe someday, but honestly I rather doubt I'd be able to afford it. I'm not even sure if it's something I really want to do anymore. I love writing, reading, and research--all the good stuff--but I'm no good at the "game" [politics, forming alliances, jumping through nonsensical hoops].)
I also think there are so many ways to participate in writing communities. Writing, workshopping, collaborating, editing, publishing book reviews...It's important to read and respond to other writers, and to promote work other than your own, too. I'm thinking that I would really like to incorporate some book (or chapbook) reviews in upcoming issues...or perhaps as part of the blossombones blog. I'm trying to find ways to encourage writers to submit reviews, but so far, we don't get much of that kind of thing. Maybe I should put out a special call for subs (probably next spring) of reviews?
At any rate, now that I'm starting to feel human again, I'm going to make re-reading and responding the digital chapbook subs a priority, then move on the rest of the winter 09 business. (Even though I'm already brainstorming ideas for other themed issues and such...)
I'm also working on a new manuscript, which I'm totally obsessing over. I'm not sure yet whether it's going to be a chapbook, or perhaps something longer. Right now, I just want to enjoy the writing process, without worrying about where it's going. I haven't sent much out in the last few months, but I'm starting to send out work again. That's not nearly as much fun as writing, though. A few of my new poems were accepted by Eclectica this week, which I'm pretty darned happy about :)
Oh! And I think it's finally going to stop raining in the Midwest. Eventually.