Tag Archives: publication

The Last Days of Lockdown

It’s the final week of the second lockdown, and I will be returning to work next week. We will be sticking to our pre-lockdown work pattern of four days a week and, because of the way it falls, I won’t be back in until Friday. I intend to make the most of the next four days.

I don’t have much in the way of poetry  writing to do at the moment because there are no deadlines until January. I think I have everything I need for then, and just have to polish a few bits. I will continue writing, but there is no urgency in it for the moment. I have quite a lot written and am polishing it for January.

At the moment I have a magazine article in progress. I’m struggling with it because I’m writing a list of information which I am reusing from an obituary. The life was interesting, but the process of writing about it is not so interesting.

I have also just had another  haibun published. Try this link to see it – same as usual, scroll down to Simon Wilson. You may like to try a few of the others while you are there. Last week I also had a haiku published in Presence, but that’s a print magazine so there is no link. This is, I think, the fourth time I submitted to Presence, and my first success. I was beginning to give up hope, but thought I’d give it another go. And with that brief word on the importance of persistence, I will leave close.

Publication and Practical Poetry Problems

I’ve just had a haibun published in Wales Haiku Journal. You can find it here. I have a previous one published here.

I noticed, when re-reading The Duckpond (published about two years earlier) , that I seem to write about ponds a lot. Am I in danger of becoming type-cast, possibly even being known to posterity as The Pond Poet?

It’s another possible problem to add to running out of ideas, losing my ability to write and being found out. Because the problems of writing something good enough for publication aren’t enough, I need more fears to fill the time as I lie awake at night.

With coronavirus I can now fill that time with thoughts of death, losing my job and the collapse of society, but once we have a vaccine I can start worrying about how I will be seen by future generations.

However, this isn’t a post about worry, it’s about haibun. I’m currently in the middle of reorganising my computer files, as they had degenerated into chaos and I have been having difficulty finding things. This led to me submitting four poems to a magazine, then wishing I hadn’t.

One was an accidental double submission (which I think I mentioned before) but fortunately the other editor rejected it. Two of the others were not final versions. When I looked at them again, I realised that one was an incomplete version of a revision and one was a fully revised version but, unfortunately, one that had been further revised and improved.

I’m now waiting to get them back. It’s easier, I think just to get them back and suffer the ignominy of looking unprofessional, rather than try to explain and resubmit.

Hopefully the new system will stop this happening.

Then all I need is a way of filing haiku. Tiny little poems with no titles. I have hundreds of them, and they are refusing to cooperate. It’s like grains of sand pouring out of a hole in a bucket. They are all over the place and I have completely lost track.

They don’t tell you about this in haiku books. They tell you about lightness and simplicity and all that stuff but are completely silent on the subject of indexing, storage and finding them again once you have written them.

Glasses from Amazon

Thursday

I must say I’m finding the titling of the posts a lot easier this week, though I’m not sure what to do next week. I might insert “Another” into the title, or “Next”. That will see me through another seven days. However, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

One of the computers is working again in the shop. It seems it’s a well known quirk of that computer and often occurs after automatic updates. You cure it by repeatedly pressing f11 as soon as a message appears on the screen.

When I say “well known” I mean well known to one of us. If the rest of us had known we would have fixed it. Communication is important in business but is often ignored.

I have a haibun out in Failed Haiku. You will have to scroll down to find Simon Wilson, though there are a lot of good things to read on the way down. The submission requirement this month was that the prose portion of the haibun should be fifty words or less.

If you want to know more about Southwold Pier (that’s what the haibun is about) try this post, or this post. Actually, now I check those two, you also need this one. The haibun is a bit pretentious and, if you like to know these things, actually relates to two different visits – the rude woman visit from several years ago and the visit the week before lockdown, where everyone had fled to their holiday homes to sit out the plague.

The pictures feature my new glasses. The featured image is the box with four pairs remaining.  The other image which I am going to title “Study Number 1” is me in Serengeti mode, with my zebra mask and zebra glasses, though they look more than slightly polka dot to me.  The general impression of a village idiot with a camera is enhanced by my self-inflicted lockdown haircut and the suspicion of Old Testament which hangs around my beard.

Now, what can I call tomorrow’s post?

Study Number 1 - The Idiot

Study Number 1 – The Idiot

A Simple Man

You may recall that a few months ago I had four successive rejections from editors. I’ve had a bit of rest since then, with just one magazine article published, but a couple of months ago decided it was time to have another go. Shortly after that, my father died. To be honest, I started to think how my eulogy would sound and I had to admit it would be pretty dull.

I’ve always been a fan of Gareth’s eulogy from Four Weddings and a Funeral, as read by John Hannah – “I rang a few people, to get a general picture of how Gareth was regarded by those who met him. ‘Fat’ seems to have been a word people most connected with him. ‘Terribly rude’ also rang a lot of bells.”

It fits, but I’d like people to remember me for more than being fat and rude, though they are two of my more defining characteristics, along with ‘untidy’.

The world of poetry is such that any idiot with a word processor and a vocabulary stands a chance of being published. In my previous incarnation as a poet I gained many of my publication credits by selecting magazines with low quality thresholds. After a couple of years I managed to get into a decent magazines and was highly commended in a national competition. Just as I thought I’d made it, I found myself short of time as the kids started to get better at sport.

As you know, I had a few haibun published last year and then faded a bit. I saw an edition of Grayson Perry’s Art Club during lockdown He said something about art being an activity where anybody could participate and there was nothing to stop you being a high achiever, or something like that. It made me think.

You need some talent to be an artist, or the ability to work hard if you want to write a book, but as I realised years ago, being a poet isn’t difficult. Being a good one might be tricky, but after reading some ‘good’ poetry I’m even dubious about that.

And so I started writing again.

I just had my first acceptance.

Typewriter and vocabulary, that’s all you need. And the brass neck to ignore rejection.

A Little Good News

The good news is that the latest issue of Contemporary Haibun Online is out and it has one of mine it in it. It has 63 others too, plus a few articles, so there is plenty to read.

The bad news is that this is the last one in the pipeline and after my recent spate of rejections I’m beginning to wonder if I will ever write anything worth reading again.

I suppose I will just have to do what I normally do in the circumstances and lower my sights until I find a magazine desperate for material. That was how I became a published poet in the first place. Nothing to do with the quality of my writing, just a willingness to lower my standards until I found someone willing to publish me.

According to an article I read there are 300 poetry magazines in the UK, and you are almost certain to get in one of them if you search around enough.

The situation is slightly different with a specialist form like a haibun, but even so, there are still magazines out there I haven’t tried.

There are, of course, reasons for this.

Some of them, for instance, only accept paper submissions, and I can’t be bothered. It’s a waste of time, a waste of money and a waste of trees,

Others have an unfortunate attitude, Frankly, I can’t write enough good stuff to go round so why bother with someone who I probably won’t like? I will take a certain amount of crap if I’m being paid, but not when I’m working for nothing.

That will do for now, despite all my good intentions I am only going to manage one post today.

I’m now going to prepare a submission for tomorrow and polish my article on coping with rejection by editors.

1500

As usual, I can’t let a numerical milestone pass without using it as a lazy title.

I checked Haibun Today yesterday, remembering that I should be in it. I am. (Despite things being approved by editors I always worry that a last minute glitch will prevent publication).

My first post, on 8th October 2014, was about Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain. I was hoping to be appalled by my poor quality writing and banal subject matter, but it seems as good as anything I’ve done, which is a bit annoying – I was hoping I’d improved over time.

Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain
Guinea Fowl sheltering from the rain

When I worked in South Africa I used to have a family of Guinea Fowl that walked across the front lawn on a regular patrol. The ones on the farm did the same thing, stalking the gardens, eating pests and depositing manure.

There are still four left on the farm, defying the odds. They have lasted better than we did.

I will say no more.

The Duckpond

Several of you have expressed an interest in seeing some of my haiku/haibun. I realise this is a sign of kindness rather than a burning desire to read self-edited poetry of variable quality, but I do appreciate it.

I’m afraid I’m not very forthcoming, because I tend to write for magazine publication and, occasionally, for competition. They generally don’t accept work that has already been seen, and as I never seem to have enough material that’s good enough to submit it makes it hard to find something to show.

It’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation – I can’t show the best ones and I don’t want to show you the second quality ones.

As a compromise, if you follow this link to Wales Haiku Journal and scroll down to The Duckpond, you can read my latest haibun.  If you are a regular reader you may recognise the pond, and the trolley.

Part of the problem is the time they need to mature. I’m currently working on pieces that were written three or four months ago. My last attempt on the blog was written in haste and didn’t quite work.

I’m sure there is a way round it, and will apply myself to searching. Maybe I need a 100 Day Haibun Challenge…

A Good Start to the Week

Just thought I’d mention that if you happened to be browsing Haibun Today there are a couple of haibun in there under my name (Wilson, that is, not Quercus).

I was just looking through links, deciding which editor to inflict my next group of submissions on, when I remembered that they should be out. They are, and I had a pleasant moment seeing my name in print. In fact, there have been intermittent feelings of happiness all day, with a touch of smugness now and again.

It’s a mixed feeling. I’m happy to see them published, but I’m also slightly embarrassed because there are far better ones published in the same edition and am now thinking that I really should do better.

It’s similar to the problem I’m having with my next round of submissions. When I had nothing published I had nothing to lose. Now that I have had a couple of acceptances I have a standard to compare myself to, and work that would at one time have been sent out, is now sitting in a file because I’m now not sure it’s good enough.

I suppose this is fear, and fear is why we don’t do things. It’s good in some ways, because I’ve avoided lions, poisonous snakes and bungee jumping, which are all potentially fatal. However, the fear of foreign travel, salad and failure may well have held me back from a more interesting life. I do try to see failure as a step on the way to success, but it can be hard.

I am now going to look at my name in print again. Despite my misgivings there are worse things to do.

The photos have nothing to do with the subject of the post, but everyone loves a baby seal, apart from fishermen and furriers, so I thought I’d use it again. The seagulls are just there because I decided I wanted a floating bird of the day.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black-headed Gulls in winter plumage

 

 

 

Back in the Game

You may recall me mentioning that I’d had a haiku accepted for publication two weeks ago.

You should do, I mentioned it enough.

I then sent a few off to another magazine. I thought several of them were better than the one that had been accepted, so I was quietly confident about getting another one accepted.

Unfortunately, I didn’t.

That happens, and alongside the quiet confidence I always try to keep a sense of reality. After all, if it was easy everyone would do it.

Anyway, not only did I get rejected, I was advised by the editor not to be downhearted because competion made it tough to get into the magazine.

I could live with that.

It was the next bit that twisted the knife. He advised me to read the magazine and write something suitable. Well, thanks to the internet I had been reading the magazine and I had thought that I’d submitted something suitable.

Apparantly not. Apparantly I had completely missed the point.

So I entered a deep depression and started an internal monologue telling me I was rubbish and should give up. This was possibly an over-reaction but we can’t all be well-balanced.

It was made worse by the realisation that I had set the bar high. Possibly too high. Stretching yourself is one thing, but arrogantly setting out to target the top magazines is embarrassing when it doesn’t work.

Rather than prolong the agony, I will just tell you that everything is fine now. I have read some articles about how to write better haiku, including some written by people who don’t know. Some of them even admit they don’t know. Some of them don’t admit it, but their haiku examples show it.

That’s the trouble with the internet – lots of words and lots of people who really should be disconnected.

I’ve actually written a couple of haiku that are probably better than the ones I had rejected, so it’s been a positive experience.

I’ve also had an email telling me I have just had two haibun accepted. Not just one, but two. And I had a pleasant note from the editor, which restored my faith in editors.

Looks like I may be on the right track after all.