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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

a new year's resolution

well, it's a new year. and i only have one resolution this year.

i will try to get over my self-doubt so i can send my collection to book contests and open reading periods.

isn't this the most stupid and pathetic resolution ever?? it makes me want to throw up. but i need to force myself to get over my self-doubt or i might never send out my collection.

i'm that kind of poet.

insecure, afraid, anxious, apprehensive, choked, diffident, hanging by thread, hesitant, jumpy, on thin ice, questioning, shaky, touch and go, touchy, troubled, unassured, unconfident...

i know you are full of self-doubt too, but your self-doubt doesn't keep you from sending out your collection. i see your name listed as winner, finalist, semi-finalist all the time; my self-doubt doesn't even allow me to send out in the first place.

gawd, this post is making me depressed. and it's a foolish post, too. i know better. i'm always telling other poets to trust their voice, their poems. but here i am. afraid to send out my first collection.

i'm not afraid of rejection. i'm used to rejection. i've applied to colonies, fellowships, and awards and i've been rejected again and again. i can deal with rejection.

i'm starting to think i'm afraid of getting my collection picked up. crazy, no? what's wrong with me!

here's a telling moment: last summer at bread loaf i had a one-on-one with tom sleigh. he began by praising my work and i immediately shut down. yes, you read that correctly: i immediately shut down. i began to nod yes to everything and to scribble in my notebook and to ask some basic questions. in other words: my mind checked out. i can't deal with praise.

what does that say about me? oh gawd.


Sandra said...

What does it say abouy you?

It says you're one of us.

Onward, my friend. It'll be okay!

Kells said...

When I got praise at my MFA program, I started crying and a friend said, "Why are you upset, we're telling you we liked it!" I didn't like the spotlight shined right at me.

Sometimes success is scarier than failure.

You deserve success though. You are talented (don't shut down as you read this...) and yes, as Sandra says, you are one of us and yes, you'll be great!

Leslie said...

That Tom Sleigh—such a meaniehead. What was he thinking?

I'm with Kells about the whole praise thing--though I get angry not teary. I usually think if someone likes my work they must be an idiot.

You are one of us. You are going to have to suck. it. up. Send the ms out. Deal with success when it happens. Sending a book out is mostly an invitation to rejection. And you said yourself, you ain't afraid o that.

Matthew Thorburn said...

Just go for it, my friend! (I want to buy your book!)