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Sunday, September 19, 2010

manuscript blues

i printed out my manuscript last night. five sections. around 50 pages. good lord, that number really depresses me. i've spent the last 6 years of my life working on this collection and all i have is 50 pages! granted, i've written about 30 more pages of work, but i don't want those poems in my first collecton. why? those poems now bore me or they don't belong in the manuscript. and i have been ruthless, dead reader. i have exiled poems that have been published in good places like the nation or quarterly west.

okay, eduardo, calm down. inhale. think of cats and rainbows. think of flowers and oranges. inhale deeply...

don't you love freshly printed manuscript pages? i do! the pages are so crisp and white. i love the smell of the ink. the way the font (new times roman) seems to leap from the white of the page. i love the slight heft of the manuscript. oh i love freshly printed manuscipt pages!

okay, now the really bad news:

i could only see the gaps in the order as i flipped through the manuscript. there should be a short lyric here. there should be a funny moment here.

but i'm not going to let those nagging doubts get me this time. we all have those doubts, right? i'm going to work through those doubts. i'm going to remind myself: a collection is made up of valleys and peaks.

dear reader, i promise this to you: i'm going to submit! i will send the manuscript out this fall. i have to let these poems go. i'm sure they will find a home. well, let's hope they find a home!

i will post pics next month: of me slipping maunscripts into large envelopes, of me sending off those large envelopes.

you will be my witness, dear reader.

5 comments:

Remedios said...

I feel the same way. My manuscript will never feel ready. We just have to let them go and see what happens. I can work on it until the day I die, but I know I really shouldn't. Send that puppy out!!! *cheering*

Wendy Wisner said...

Do it, Eduardo! I have faith in you and your poems.

Leslie said...

Good for you! Congratulations!

January said...

Yay! You can do this. Keep moving forward. Deep breaths. Good luck!

Lyle Daggett said...

My first book of poems (published 34 years ago) had 14 poems in it. Each of the books I've published in the years since then has had between 10 and 20 poems.

Earlier this year I sent a New and Selected Poems manuscript to my publisher, compiled from more than 30 years of work. The manuscript was 109 pages plus front and back material.

By no means should anyone feel that a manuscript of 50 pages is inadequate. As far as I'm concerned, a book of poems is complete when it has enough poems in it. And sometimes a very skinny book (even one less than 50 pages) can be a full-length book of poems.

I takes courage to step into the wilderness and fly. Good news is, you have wings. :)