After yet another standard rejection from a journal that has in the past given me at least a nice note, I think I'm going to pull back from the submission game for a while -- let the stuff that's out come back, but not send anything else out till maybe after the first of the year. In the meantime there is plenty of reading and writing to be done.
Roger Mitchell once said that anyone can be a poet, but you have to want it badly enough. Right now I wonder whether I really do want it badly enough. Do I want to have a book published someday? Sure. Of course. But do I want the actual writing part? Do I want it badly enough? Is it something I am meant to do? That feels like a good question right now.
Friday night is the Crazy Quilt of Bloomington Songs performance. Should be fun. We have an actual dress rehearsal on Thursday night, which makes me feel a tiny bit impatient as I'm reading a poem that will last all of about thirty seconds, but I suppose it's necessary. The poets will be reading their poems before the musical performances of same, and there are probably a lot of logistics involved in getting people moved on & off the stage, et cetera.
Thinking ahead to next summer. I really want to go back to Provincetown for another workshop, though I can't imagine how I will be able to swing it financially. The Indiana U. Writers' Conference is another possibility -- still pricey if I don't get a scholarship (every time I attend I apply, but have never yet gotten one) but at least I don't have to cover travel and housing. They've announced their 2006 faculty already, though they haven't yet indicated who's leading manuscript workshops and who's just teaching lecture-type classes. Still, looks like a fairly interesting group: Amy Bloom, Richard Cecil, Debra Kang Dean, Barbara Hamby, Tyehimba Jess, Dana Johnson, Allison Joseph, David Kirby, Richard McCann, Jon Tribble, Samrat Upadhyay, and Mark Wunderlich. I also see that Bob Bledsoe is the new director of the conference this year; Bob was in the poetry class I took with Cathy Bowman a couple years ago, when he was an MFA fiction student here, and he's a good writer and a sweet guy. I imagine he'll do a good job with the IUWC.
I suspect, though, that as soon as FAWC releases its summer schedule, I will be rushing to sign up for a workshop there even if I can't possibly afford it. (Hey, I can always get my deposit back in a few months if I keep doing the math and just can't swing it. And the deposit can go on the trusty credit card -- that's what they're for, right?) I can't expect it to be as revelatory (I was going to say "epiphanous" -- if that's not a word, it should be) as the workshop I had this past summer; that was probably a once-in-a-lifetime conjunction of the right teacher and the right fellow students in the right place at the right time. But it would, without doubt, be a lovely and well-spent week. So we'll wait to see who's teaching there in 2006. Who knows, maybe I'll land a grant or a scholarship and blow most of my vacation time for both IUWC and FAWC. That would be a blast.