This has been a productive few weeks, in terms of rejection. They say that rejection is all part of the process. While I know this to be true, it doesn’t make it sting any less. It doesn’t help quiet that little voice in my head that is always looking for a way to make me give up the dream.
Perhaps I am picking the wrong journals. Most say, “please read our publications for a sense of what we like” and I do. The trouble is, I don’t see my work/my style reflected, really, anywhere. So it’s possible, that many of my rejections are first prompted by my arrogance, and then by the fact that my style is not poetic or literary enough.
I write simply. I get to the point. I don’t use fancy words or imagery. I’m not (often) writing about pop culture or current events. Essentially, I’m writing letters, short confessions. I’m reliving a brief memory, on paper. I’m giving the people and the moments that matter most to me, a place to live. Forever. I feel that we should all be given that golden ticket. Our name in lights, so to speak. I understand that each journal has a reputation to uphold, but isn’t the real reward (and duty) in simply being the catalyst for connection? You know, like public radio. They play the misfit toys of music. The hard-to-sell, the experimental, etc. Some you like, some you don’t but that’s the deal. At least now you know. What do you think the readership of POETRY magazine is? Enough to make me giddy at the thought of being included. And why aren’t I? Why can’t the readers decide if they want me or not? How will they ever know if they never get the opportunity to read my work?
The “process” is really a just a game and it feels like the odds are stacked against me. Against us. I want to decide what I like. I don’t want to be told what is good or worthy or what is true poetry by a magazine or an editor I’ve never met and who has never met me.
I reflect on and write a lot about being poor, about being the daughter of an alcoholic mother and murdered father. There are plenty of young people out there who can relate and need to know that it gets better. Who need to know that their stories matter. Who need to know that they are not alone.
I’m not saying my poetry will necessarily help or fix any of that, but damn it, I’d like to try.
So my dear, sweet editors, please be kind and open to us less known, less experienced writers. Our words deserve homes too.