The Unpublished Works
Everyone likes seeing their name in print.
Well, unless of course it’s trash tabloid-ism or an arrest warrant… But I’m not talking just-printed-on-paper but I mean a by-line of one sort or another. I can say that from experience as I’ve gotten that kick — seeing “John Fontana” linked to letters-to-the-editor, or being sourced/interviewed by USA Today, being quoted in The Hockey News, The New York Times Slap Shot blog and la-de-da.
But I can also say that wasn’t where I intended to go with writing when I started out as a kid. My intention wasn’t to be a face-in-the-crowd (though no matter what you write or publish, you are another face in the crowd of literature) in the newspaper.Â Not another source for magazines and what not. Not a weblogger. I planned on doing things creatively and having my own book. Or books — plural. Take your pick.
But that never happened. See, when i was a teen I got away from story writing so much and was writing poetry most of the time… a habit that’s followed me into adulthood. Lyrical verse more-so than deep observations and perspectives.. Well, yeah they are perspectives but they are my perspectives. Sometimes just pop, sometimes inspired by events or people or feelings in my life.
Over the years, I’ve had some of them available to the masses through the web… Certainly you can find a couple of them on this site and probably elsewhere on the web…Â But they’ve never really been published in the sense of print.Â Never published in the sense of being out there for any traditional form of mass consumption.Â I haven’t bothered to take the time with sending out poems to magazines who have niches all of their own (and aren’t available unless you pay for a subscription or pay for a copy — while you’re not getting paid for your contribution).
I ought to put together a manuscript and do something with it.Â But I’m hesistant.
Catherine Durkin Robinson, local blogger and Creative Loafing contributor, has written two book manuscripts.Â Her first one is being published, chapter-by-chapter, on a blogspot site. The other, a more recent work based on her life as a teacher in Hillsborough County, is being sent around to literary agents in hopes someone will pick up the work and mass-market it. Sadly, that has not been the case and the rejections have been comical at best.
Their loss. I’ve read the book and it’s not only a good read, it’s provocative and controversial enough to be read widely by those fearing school-district scandals.
I also have another friend, in the Pacific Northwest this time, who went out and self-published her first novel.Â The book, Steel Goddesses, is currently available on Amazon.com for purchase.Â It takes a lot of courage to go out on a limb like that and self-publish any work… But it sort of cuts out the middle-man of having to appease literary agents who tell you what a proper market for your writing is-or-isn’t and tells you to change your work to fit that niche.Â At least that’s what I’ve seen with rejections served up to Catherine.
So the idea I am kicking around is actually putting together a manuscript of poetry I’ve written over the past decade and self-publishing it. I realize that poetry is not exactly a hot seller and not going to lead me to riches…Â It’d cost me more to publish than the commissions I’d get in the long run from doing it…Â But it does what I have long sought to do — take the writings jammed in Mead notebooks that I’ve carried around since High School and take some of those verses and show them to the masses. Will people connect? I have doubts.Â Will strangers read what I’ve written? Even more doubts… But it’s mine, and it’d be out there. My claim. My piece of literature.
It’s a thought, at least.