Tag Archives: acceptance

Title? Can’t really think . . .

I’ve been trying to get into the comments for the last two hours. All I get is a small circle going round and round . . .

Is anyone else having this problem?

Anyway – Julia’s swollen eye is now definitely on the mend, which is good as progress has been slow over the last few days and I have been struggling for supportive things to say. There’s only so much you can say after the first day.

Over the last few days I’ve had a couple of emails from editors. One was an acceptance. However, to cut my ego down to size, they did offer a couple of suggestions which improved the piece considerably. It was a masterclass in editing and an example of how things can always be improved.

The second was a hybrid – neither an acceptance or a rejection, but an invitation to make alterations and resubmit. Generally I’m all in favour of chances to be published but over the years I’ve had bad experiences with this sort of thing and have never had an altered piece accepted on this basis. You know where you are with acceptances and rejections, even with conditional acceptances, but this sort of hybrid never seems to work for me. I can’t see this being the one to break the sequence, particularly as I’ve only been given a few days to do it. Fortunately, I no longer have my old drive to be published so I’m not going to stress about it. Some you win, some you lose. This piece will eventually be recycled, but not just yet.

Meanwhile, I have answered a few comments by going through past posts but still cannot call up the comments as a whole. I hope this might be fixed by the time I post tomorrow.

 

Day 219

Two acceptances today – one where the editor told me they thought a touch of punctuation might be in order. I agreed with them – I had looked at putting a dash in that very place but then decided, in the interests of simplicity, to leave it out. Nice to find I’m synchronised in my thinking with and editor. I bet if I’d put it in they would have suggested leaving it out. That has happened before.

The second was for a members’ anthology. They asked for 3-5 submissions. If you send five you are guaranteed that one will be accepted. I didn’t see the point of that, as I send them in to be tested, so I sent three. One was accepted, so I passed the test.

So far, so good. I still have a couple waiting for decisions, and really should get on with writing more. My literary legacy won’t write itself.

I had what I though was probably an adverse reaction to medication last night. If I say it was a digestive upheaval you can fill in the details for yourself. I didn’t get a lot of sleep  and still felt actively ill in the morning so, regretfully, I took the day off. It was lunchtime before I got downstairs and after 2.00 before I felt like doing anything. That activity took the form of writing a rather dull explanation of what a haibun is (I was asked a couple of days ago) so I left it when Julia returned home in favour5 of drinking tea and watching TV.

Mint Moth

I’m feeling better now, though slightly resentful that I told the doctor I didn’t want to alter the medication. I don’t think their medical education, despite being long, is very flexible. When a patient tells you he doesn’t want more pills as a known side effect is digestive disruption, and he already has trouble like that from another set of pills, I think it might be a good idea to listen and work out a different solution. But what do I know?

Mint Moth

Pictures are Mint Moths – I was discussing them with Helen earlier.

Day 155

Another day, another list of things that are uninteresting to anyone apart from me, and not even that interesting to me in the main..

I passed today mainly drinking tea and watching TV. Also did a few exercises whilst sitting down watching TV and made a few notes on the4 pad next to my chair. Today isn’t really a Bank Holiday but as the Post Office was closed we had the day off as a bonus. Monday is going to be busy as we catch up with four days of orders and nonsensical emails, but it’s been nice having time to wind down.

Number Two Son is in the same country as us for the first time in nearly three years, but is currently sightseeing in London before coming up to Nottingham. I’m not by nature a nervous parent, but it’s always nice to know he’s landed safely.

Highlight of the Platinum Jubilee for me, in fact probably my favourite thing this century, was the TV clip of the Queen having tea with Paddington Bear and producing a marmalade sandwich from her handbag.

Finally, an email accepting two tanka prose. They are like haibun but use tanka instead of haiku. They also have fewer rules and are more about writing than about following rules. The “rules” aren’t actually rules, but the imaginings of several editors who see themselves as more important than the form. However, as I said yesterday, I won’t go off on one because, apart from a discussion about scansion, me talking about imaginery rules is one of the most boring subjects in poetry.

Tomorrow we have clotted cream to eat on our scones. My days tend to have fairly low-level highlights . . .

The photo is one I have on file – Paddington Bear on a gold 50p coin, outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

Paddington Bear at St Paul’s in box etc

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.