Tag Archives: acceptance

Day 100

I know there’s nothing mystical about the number 100, but it seems like a good  day to have a serious review of my titling practice. It feels like a growing panic is engulfing me as I see the days fall away, and though it’s undoubtedly quicker and easier, it also feels like I’m leaving the blog unfinished. On the other hand, when I write titles by number it hides the fact that some days I just can’t be bothered, wher5eas titles don’t hide it so well. By tomorrow I will have reached a conclusion. The conclusion could be that I carry on numbering, or that I start using titles again. Or simply that I can’t be bothered to make a decision. Watch this space . . .

Another proper step in my poetic progress has been taken. Nothing major, so don’t expect too much. It’s just that so many of my poems are just marking time – same sort of poem, same magazines, more of the same . . .

Last month I submitted some tanka to an Australian magazine called Eucalypt. It’s a well known magazine, which specialises in tanka. I’ve never submitted to it before, and I’ve never sent tanka to a specialiost6 tanka magazine before. Result – an acceptance.

Second result – a feeling that I have advanced a little further along the road to getting better. I know it’s not a very precise measure of either progress or my targets, but it does feel like progress, all the same. Of course, I’m now left wondering what I need to do next to feel more like a serious poet. In the 1950s I could just have worn a beret, but these days it’s not so easy to look distinctively poetic.

Day 83

Who would have thought that I would have managed a post roughly every 24 hours for 83 days. And who would have believed that Day 83 would seem so much worse than 24th March? It does though, doesn’t it?

We put an engraved American coin up for auction last week and someone wrote to ask if we would accept £40. It was tempting, but would have been unfair on people who had viewed it and were wanting to bid. It made £9.99 so we lost £30. However, we retained our integrity, and I feel better about that than I would about taking £40.

Blossom is out and I am still having trouble sleeping properly.

Looks like this is just becoming a random load of thoughts. I admit that my posts are seldom well-crafted pieces of tight writing with a unifying thread and a satisfactory conclusion (apart from it being satisfactory that it has ended), but this is disjointed even by my standards.

I just had a letter from an editor. I submitted seven pieces. Three were accepted. Neither of the two I thought were my “best” work made the grade.

Last night I read a haiku magazine and I reckon that fully 50% of them fail to be good haiku according to generally accepted guidelines. This shows the flexibility of guidelines, the capriciousness of editorial opinion, and how bad mine must be if I can’t even get one in to a magazine where half of them are flawed.

When I get cremated I want them to stencil “Could do better” on my coffin. Those words accompanied each school report I ever had, and continue to follow me to this day.

The pictures of blossom are from a few years ago, and probably in April, not March.

I just found that you can search your photos by subject, if you’ve titled the pictures – an area in which I am deficient. It’s taken me over 2,600 posts to find that out.

Blossom at Wilford

 

 

Day 67

I heard back from one of my other submissions. Another acceptance. Too easy. Something bad must happen soon. I will become complacent, or editors will realise that deep down I am not worth publishing . . .

Success can be  a troublesome thing to deal with. My previous four attempts were turned down on the basis of obscurity, being late and not being good enough (twice). In some ways I find that easier to deal with, which is really the wrong way round. You often see articles about how to cope with rejection, but nothing about how to cope with success. Maybe I should write that as an article – it would be more original than another one about coping with rejection.

That’s a question – is it possible to be “more original” or is it like pregnancy and uniqueness? You can’t be “more pregnant” or “slightly pregnant”. You can, according to some people be “nearly unique” , “almost unique” and various other types of unique, but they all really mean “not unique” and are a misuse of the word. I saw one example on eBay that was properly used but hilarious in context.

Someone ha listed an item as “rare”. This, in eBay speak just means “I have not seen one before”. Five sales down the page was another of these rare items, which tends to suggest they may not be rare. The second one, which made me laugh, was described as “unique”. Clearly it wasn’t.

And that’s what made me think about my statement above – can you be “more original”?, Or is it simply “original” or “not original”? Have I fallen into sloppy writing habits?

What do you think?

Stone on the Floor

 

 

 

Crepuscular rays at Rufford Park

Back to Normal

Things are about back to normal now. I am still sticking to one sandwich for lunch and work seems OK, though I’m still having difficulty remembering where things are. This isn’t helped by the fact that the owner decided to “tidy up” while we were all off (he spent some of his isolation time working in the shop), Why he thinks that moving stock into random places without telling anybody is an improvement, I do not know. However, it’s his time he’s wasting, not mine.

My legs are still a bit weak after weeks of enforced rest but I am making progress on that.

I struggled to submit anything in September, but did manage a few things (mainly things that were already written and just needed tidying). I have three poems in Cattails this month – pages 86, 89 and 133 if you fancy a look.

I have also had acceptances from three other magazines (though only one will be available online) and will no doubt mention it again when it is published.

At one point, when I was really struggling to string words together, I actually thought I’d run to the end and would never write again. Fortunately that passed off after a week, as I don’t know what I’d do to replace it. At the moment I’m not writing much because I mainly work, eat, watch TV and go to bed early. I’m still sleeping off the Covid.

It is probably time to prepare a plan to make sure I spend my time wisely. However, for now I will just sleep.

 

 

A Worse Thing than Being Accepted

I didn’t realise there was anything worse than being accepted, until yesterday.

I’ve just had an acceptance and I am very annoyed. In fact at one point I was filled with rage. I sent in three haibun, each one elegantly and interestingly crafted and probably some of the best work I have ever done. I also sent in seven tanka to make the numbers up and see how the tanka are going. I’ve only just started writing them and have had one accepted, so they seem to be hitting the mark. However, they are just lightweight 5 line poems compared to the more serious business of writing haibun. They are also, let’s face it, a lot easier than haiku – two extra lines and fewer rules make for a more relaxed writing experience.

You can see where this is heading already, can’t you?

None of the haibun were required and one of the tanka was accepted. My first reaction was disbelief, then, as read the email again (because I’d clearly missed something first time) extreme annoyance.  I’d just spent the best part of a year on the haibun, editing, cutting, polishing and letting them mature (all the stuff you are supposed to do), and they were tossed to one side in favour of something that took me five minutes.

However, after sleep and breakfast I’m looking on it as just one more manifestation of the mystery of interaction with editors. I will put it down to experience, use it for the basis of a blog post and, eventually use it in  a magazine article about rejection. But most of all I will look at my work critically and try to work out why it took a year to produce a bad haibun. I used to be able to that in twenty minutes. I’m getting slower  . . .

 

Me and Roger McGough

I’ll go back a couple of days for this one.  I had an email yesterday. As is customary I have had three haibun rejected by the editor who always rejects me.  He thinks there were some interesting points but they aren’t quite there yet. He has been thinking that for around two years. I have submitted to him half a dozen times and have failed to find favour every time.  Two years of being “not quite there yet” seems like a long time – in that time I have had haibun published in six other journals.

I don’t mean I should be accepted very time I submit, or that the rejecting editor is wrong. Even the magazines that generally accept me don’t do so without the odd rejection, and once in a while I get a hard time from one of the editors demanding changes I don’t always want to make. When that happens, I get annoyed with myself for not writing to a high enough standard. That’s not difficult to cope with.

However, when you are consistently turned down by one editor you reach a point when you have to wonder if it’s worth the effort, and whether he is looking for something I can’t produce.  I’ll probably try a few more times, because each rejection is one more for the year’s list. I’m supposed to be aiming for 100 rejections and have only made 22 submissions so far this year. I’ve been a bit lazy recently, so need to up my game. It doesn’t do me any harm to get a few rejections because it does make me sharpen up, the only proviso is that I want to send stuff out that has a chance of success, and that takes time. Recently it has been taking longer than usual.

Anyway, that’s a rejection, and the lessons to be learned from it. I will now go back by another day.

My copy of Acumen arrived. I has two of my poems in it. They were shortlisted in February and accepted in March, so it’s been a while. I have become so used to the rapid internet world of most haibun magazines that this seems a long time. It’s the 100th edition and is bigger than usual, and is very glossy. To say I was pleased with myself would be an understatement.

When I opened it I found there were quite a few famous poets in there, Mimi Khalvati was on the opening page and Roger McGough was about half-way through. I’m right at the back, but it doesn’t matter, I’m still in a magazine with some famous poets. I’ve been in magazines with some notable haibun writers too, but none of them as famous as Roger McGough.

It took a while for me to calm down after that, which is why the Saturday rejection bounced off me, and why I’ve had to wait until now to write about it. It’s probably very un-Zen to be too excited about this sort of thing, so I also had to watch out I didn’t upset any passing haiku practitioners with my unseemly showing off.

Plans and Haiku

Despite the first part of the day consisting of a mathematically implausible three halves, I did have a plan for the next bit of the day, which I’m going to describe as “bit” because it saves me having to be accurate.

The plan was to go home, write, wash up and make stew for tea. It also included, after my talk with the doctor, eating eggs for lunch and not sleeping in front of daytime TV whilst watching quiz with my lunch. Next time, I’m going to eat lunch at the computer.

It’s has all come to pass, apart from the not sleeping bit, but instead of being 5 o’clock, as planned, it is seven o’clock. As days off go, it has been OK, but not hugely productive. However, I have had another acceptance, this time from Wales Haiku Journal. It will be published in the next two weeks and is a haiku of eleven words. It almost feels like cheating to claim I’m having a poem published when it’s only 11 words long, but as Mark Twain said:

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Brevity can be tricky.

I now have a nine rejected haiku which can be sent out again. Just because they have been rejected doesn’t mean they are bad. I’ve shown that before, with many pieces. As it is, I have ten ready to go to another magazine and if everything goes as it normally does, and they take one, as they often do, I will have 18 haiku looking for a home. It’s amazing how they mount up. That’s how it goes – one day you have nothing, next day you have too many. It’s a shame that the same doesn’t apply to £10 notes.

I’m off to eat stew now, I’ll see you all tomorrow.

The haiku features a robin, so that’s the reason for the picture.

Punctures, Poetry and Police Procedurals

Sorry, after the events of the day, which included quite a lot of activity in the shop, I went home, had a puncture, called Green Flag to change the wheel (after the debacle of a few years ago) and embarked on my usual routine of wasting time. I was napping by midnight, when I should have been blogging and am, as usual, slightly ashamed of myself. However, I will get over it. In fact, I have. When I checked my emails this morning I find I have had two poems accepted by the Frogmore Papers.

Contrast this with yesterday. Yesterday I told you about a magazine that said it would “aim to” get back to me in three months. The Frogmore Papers got back to me in fourteen days. They have been about for a while and get plenty of submissions (“over 350” this time, according to the note) so it must be hard work. I’m going to modify my words of yesterday slightly – I’m not developing an artistic temperament, I’m developing a loyalty to people who work hard and make things easy for me.

Later this morning I’m off for a new tyre – by the time I’d got off the ring road to a quiet place to change a tyre it was beyond repair. It didn’t have a lot of life left in it, so this isn’t too bad, not like the time I ruined a brand new tyre by having to run with it flat for half a mile until I could get off a busy main road.

In fact, by the magic of modern technology, I have been to have my tyre replaced, sitting outside in the sun reading a crime novel and keeping my social distance. I’m back on tartan noir. You can’t escape it these days. The books are OK, but it’s a silly name. Two languages and black tartan? Really?

Time to make lunch now, then I may try a spot of poetry and some literary criticism. Or quizzes and a nap. The course of the afternoon has not yet been decided.

Gannets

I thought I’d give you Gannets today – from Bempton Cliffs in May 2017, when the weather was better, and we were allowed to travel.

It also ties in with the tartan noir, as they have quite a lot of Gannets in Scotland, as Tootlepedal’s holidays over the years have demonstrated.

Resisting Writing on Politics

Yesterday I received my copy of Presence. It’s always nice to appear in print. However, because it’s in print you will have to wait a bit until I can post it. It’s not that interesting anyway, so you aren’t missing much. I have to say that I find most haiku, even good ones, to be wearing in quantity.

Today I tried to write about my frustration at the way the world is going, but I don’t really have it in me to be political, so it didn’t go well and I ended up with nothing to show for several hours of work.

Then I had an email about an article I had originally submitted back in  November. I’d already agreed to make the alterations the editor wanted a couple of months ago and was wondering what the hold-up was when I got an apologetic email telling me he didn’t think it was the right fit and couldn’t use it. I’d already resigned myself to this, so I’m frustrated rather than downhearted. It is, after all, only words. I have an unlimited supply to draw on and am unlikely to run short.

After that I was able to watch a riot in Bristol, as protestors besieged a police station, set fire to vehicles, threw fireworks and put at least two policemen in hospital. The protest? It was about the new bill going through Parliament, the one about giving the police more powers to deal with demonstrations. My current thinking is that this is not the best way to ensure you have public support for your concerns.

And on that note I will leave it before I begin to get political.

 

Lightening Bolts, Books and Bragging

Grocery day today. We had two phone calls, each giving us an updated delivery time (by “updated” I mean “later” of course).

Meanwhile, It is cold and wet and windy. The only good thing about the weather is that it isn’t as windy as yesterday and that there was only one clap of thunder. It was clearly trying out all sorts of things and decided that a thunderstorm was surplus to requirements.

I received a book through the post yesterday – Getting Published in UK Poetry Magazines by Robin Houghton. It cost £6 fo a 34 page pamphlet of information I already had, There were a couple of snippets I didn’t know, but much of he information is available online. The main thing I got was a lesson in checking how big something is before ordering it. It won’t break me, and if it encourages a fellow poet I suppose it’s worth the money.

One thing I did notice was mention of  humblebragging. It was not only a new word, but a new concept. It seems similar to name-dropping.The author seems very much against it, but doesn’t really explain it that well. I had to look it up. I may have appeared to be guilty of this in the past but I assure you, I don’t mean to.

When I say I fear being uncovered as a fraud who got lucky I am telling the truth. It’s gradually sinking in that I am probably OK as a writer, as I’m getting regular acceptances and editors talk to me these days. Well, some of them do. However, I do still worry that one day it will all come to an end.

And, to end (with a masterful humblebrag) my target of 100 rejections has moved further away as I had two acceptances yesterday.I will now look suitably modest and sidle away as the smug alarm starts to sound…