Philosophy or Just a Dull Post?

Back to normal stuff for now.

The poetry results for January are in. I submitted four selections to magazines and three to competitions. The competition entries will take ages yet and will probably disappear without trace. However, I just had my fourth acceptance out of the four sent to magazines  for January. That hides a number of things, including that today’s acceptance is one haiku selected from ten, and I seriously believe that even then  the editor just takes one to encourage me rather than because they are any good.

The unvarnished figures are 25 submitted – four accepted. It’s not quite the same as four out of four when you look at it like that.

Looking on the bright side, I have 21 poems which are now available to go out again.  It seems a shame to waste the effort, particularly as experience shows that a number of the rejects aren’t that far off being acceptable. You sometimes have to accept that there is only so much space in a magazine and you can’t have more than your fair share. Sometimes I’ve had two or three accepted by an editor, which is good. But when it happens I always feel that I have taken a slot someone else might have been happy to have.

Canal Wall – Stoke on Trent

When I see magazines that have published four or five pieces from one writer, as sometimes happens, I actually feel resentful at times. Even if they are five good pieces I often wonder if the space could have been used better. If a poet is good, they don’t need the validation of multiple acceptances, but there might be someone who is struggling and would love to get just one piece published. That one piece might make the difference between continuing or giving up.

This is similar to the two different approaches to junior sports. Are you there to spread healthy exercise, teamwork and an appreciation of effort? Or are you there to pick out the naturally talented kids and push them on to greater things (including greater reflected glory for the coaches?). I’ve seen both. I’ve seen coaches who have managed to combine both approaches. I’ve also seen rabid parents and over-ambitious coaches who have spoiled sport for both their kids and the children of others.

Stack of books burning

I’ve just been reading some words from an editor, who says that they feel they are there to reflect the breadth of writing from their readership, rather than to select writing that conforms to the narrow vision of the editor. Not every editor takes that view, and I feel that can be a problem at times. I’m not telling editors what to do, as they all give a lot of time up to do the job, but I do wonder which approach serves the writing community better.

12 thoughts on “Philosophy or Just a Dull Post?

  1. tootlepedal

    Well done. The answer to your question is that of course coaches and editors should be trying to widen the community and spread the joy rather than basking in reflective glory but it is easier to say that than to do it sometimes.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      I was just the same, after a few years of nominating for local sports awards I gave up trying to get them for effort – the selectors only wanted people who had already won something else. I really should have persisted, but let them in.

  2. Lavinia Ross

    Congratulations on the four acceptances, Simon!

    You have also brought up good points, as usual. There are no easy answers. The older I get, the more things look grey to me. I see many sides.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Talent v Hard Work is an interesting subject. Number One Son had talent and was a good rugby player. Number Two didn’t have the same talent but he worked at it and became a better rugby p[layer.


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