Man, I had such awesome plans for when I was home for vacation. I have to learn better that this will never happen, and that any time I get more than a weekend in one stretch, it ends up being filled with Netflix, random brunches, and more sleep than is healthy. On the other hand, at least I’m feeling very self-aware about all this, and for whatever reason, this year I’m feeling particularly driven to get things done. I’ve never been much of a “January 1st resolutions GO” person — I am in the camp where any time of year is a good time to start revising — but this year it happened to be on this day that it’s really clicked. Probably because I have to go to work tomorrow after twelve days of cookies and an entire season of the West Wing.
I will keep my personal, private goals to myself, but I don’t mind sharing some of the poetic happenings in the last year, plus the ones I want to add to my record for 2013:
- The Reveries, I think, turned out splendidly. I can’t believe I managed to get through the entire year without missing one, really. (They were late a few times, but still, 52 in a timely fashion was pretty decent.) I hope they have been helpful, didactic, and constructive.
- Going to poetry events for the first time was pretty cool. I managed to do a reading or two, a book festival or two, the Dodge, and the AAP Chancellors’ Readings, all of which were good for both getting some ideas on craft/the poetry world, and becoming familiar with work I hadn’t known before. I wish they were better for networking and putting one’s name out there too, but I suppose one must take one’s lumps where one can.
- Curio has been off and on, but with another issue on the horizon (again: I have been so lazy this month), I think we can say that it’s maintained relatively good health throughout the year. Tessa came back to the East Coast for the holidays, and we got to see each other for the first time in a while; discussions have been had, and I’m sure there will be more, about the changes we’d like to effect for the journal.
- I got a Twitter, for my sins. We’ll see how that goes.
- And although I did not meet my goal of another chapbook, there were several publication credits throughout the year. I suppose that has to count for something, right?
So, what will the next year hold? Higher powers willing:
- Another chapbook. There are two that I’m trying to put together, though one will probably be ready much sooner than the other. I’m staying pretty mum about these for now, since I was focused on Khara House’s Submit-O-Rama back in October, and novel-writing in November. But once I go through enough old work and do some heavy revision, I think I’ll have enough to get together poems around a theme that’s been in my mind. After that, we’ll see about the second.
- An actual book. I might be aiming too high with this one. Lately, I’ve been hanging out with this writer’s meetup group, and talking about the idea of agents and the like. Getting an agent for poetry is damn near impossible, I imagine, so an alternative might be to try and send out a chapbook for publication rather than doing it myself. I still feel like I have relatively little on which to build clout, but it would be nice to have some serious book things happening. Which I think would lead to…
- Readings! I am still disappointed that I haven’t yet really found a venue for doing regular type poetry readings (i.e. not slam or performance poetry) in New York City, since those parenthetical ones seem to be the only games in town. I’m thinking about trying to put together my own at this point, finding some kind of cafe that will be amenable to the idea. And connected to that…
- A writing group would be really helpful in developing some ideas and getting this moving. Again, I’ve tried to find pre-existing ones, and had a hell of a time. A lot of them are out in Brooklyn or Queens, while I want to stay in Manhattan; a lot of them require some kind of publication clout before joining. Why is it so hard to just find a group of people who like to write and share their work together? I’m busy with work too, but even among writer friends of mine from college and the sort, it’s like herding cats to get people to do anything collaborative.
- Writerly retreats. I’m considering the Winter Getaway one of these, and it will be my first. I’m sure I’ll tweet from it frequently. In other conference news, there’s the Rainbow Book Fair and AWP in Boston in March; after that, I’m not sure what other bandwagons I can hop on. Maybe I need to cruise the Contests section of P&W Magazine. But I would like to take a vacation at some point too, where I can relax and write more in some friendly leatherbound journals, take in nature and city alike, allow thoughts to marinate a bit without the daily hustle/bustle, etc. I’m dreaming, aren’t I?
- Constructive criticism prompts. See my last post about a new series of prompts where I will pick apart other people’s work. I think it’s good practice to deconstruct other people’s work, so that it gives you a better eye for your own weak spots. I love bouncing ideas off people in that way, and I’m always jealous of people that have readers, editors, etc. in their lives.
- Lastly, more reading of poetry. I managed a few in the last year, but I think I’m going to set an unrealistic goal of two poetry works per month, folded into a broader program of “read more”. (The truly voluminous works, like the complete Elizabeth Bishop I picked up recently, might be a full month’s endeavor.) But I also want to read the chapbooks of others, journals that I like, zines from the anarchist bookstore, and memorize a few good ones to trot out at parties. At some point, I think I’ll hit the point of saturation where it starts making a real difference in my writing life.
So that’s the short and short of it. This is the first day of the rest of our 2013, so we might as well make the most of it, even if (like me) you have sets and subsets of resolutions, most of which will probably never actually get completed. But it’s good to keep ourselves honest, at least, and have something to strive for. I’m going to pack up my holiday detritus, go to bed, and head north tomorrow with the fury of a twentysomething who feels like the last year has been fairly stagnant. This next one: I think it could be really something, and I hope you’ll all tag along for the ride. Cheers!