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Sub Life

A month ago, I had little hope for my latest batch of poems finding homes in literary journals, but as I sit here typing this, three out of four of them have been taken by some great publications. I'm both thrilled and nervous to go back to my desk and put together another batch to begin sending out.

What's perplexing is that, of the four pieces, the lone poem left over from this group is the one I was most passionate about. And, while I could just write it off as a difference in taste between myself and, oh, every editor within a thousand miles of me who declined it, I'm coming to the realization this is simply one of those cases in which the passion you have for an idea isn't going to ensure a great project comes out of it.

Part of being a writer is having somewhat of an objective view of your limitations, and a difficulty I've had in the past has been accepting that I occasionally don't have the right skills to carry out one of my ideas. The last time this happened was with a novel whose story I was excited to tell. After finishing a draft, attempting some edits, shelving it for a bit, etc., it just never came together, and I knew that if I was being honest with myself, it was because I didn't have the skill (at that time, anyway, which was years ago) to see a great idea to a great finished piece.

With this poem, I see the same scenario emerging, though I feel that with more practice at writing these types of poems (it's current event-ish in nature, which I don't write very often), I may be able to come back to it and build it up to what it deserves to be. I'm not sure why I feel more hopeful about it this time than I did with the novel - maybe it's a poetry thing. Maybe I've just come farther as a writer and realize the craft is, always, always, always, a work in progress.


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