Sunday Post of the Slow Poet

Over the last couple of years I’ve been finding my drive to write, slowing down.  Last week was the first serious blog I’ve written in months.  There are plenty of reasons – retiring, moving, pandemic …

All have conspired to change my habits and creative focus.  Since I’ve been here in my new home, I’ve been focused more on making things for the yard, setting up my workshops and generally adjusting to being retired.

Oh, and finding a barber.  A good barber is difficult to find.  First there was the little thing where they were all forced to close and then the whole thing of do I dare sit that close to a person I don’t know.  Scary.  I’m happy to report that I have found a barber here and am scheduled for a hair cut this week.  The price will be double what I paid in San Jose two years ago, but … I can’t stand having long hair.

I’ve written a few things in the last couple of years, but I still have two major writing projects that I haven’t made much progress on.  Well, no real progress.

In 2017, I wrote a blog post on a poetry collection I’d started.  The working title is, “The Lectionary Project.” I’m a horrible at titles so it could be years before I have a better title than that.  Basically it’s a poetic response to the Gospel of Matthew.  Yup, a spiritual exercise.  I planned a total of 48 poems and so far have completed 14.  Poem 14 took me a year and a half to write. I had hoped to complete the collection in 2023, but now I’ve revised that estimate to 2033.

I’m not one of the poets who just attacks the keyboard and has a poem fall out.  Poems float in my mind for weeks, months, before they are ready for a first draft.  Even then, I tend not to like my poems and end up spending months rewriting and refining.  Last year I think I completed two poems.

It’s not really a problem, more just the way it is right now.  I suppose I could change that if I spent more of my creative energy on it.

That’s the real thing – we only have so much creative energy in us and if you’re like me and have many creative outlets it can get – interesting.  It’s simple, if I’m at the table saw cutting parts, I’m not writing and very little poetry happens when I’m cutting at the scroll saw.  Balancing time between many things is the age old problem.

Rewards is another issue that comes up.  There are a number of ways to get rewarded for what you do.  The work itself is rewarding and I get a lot of personal satisfaction just finishing a marquetry piece or completing a blog post.

But it’s also nice to get positive feedback from others.  I mean things like complements or comments on my blog.  There’s nothing quite like pointing to something and telling a friend, “I made that.”  I never sell my work so money isn’t a reward I work for.

Sometimes it’s emotionally difficult to work on something you get little or no reward for.  Which is one big reason why writing often comes in last on my creative to do list.  It’s also why most of my writing is focused here on my blog.  I have over a thousand posts and WordPress says I’m closing in on 4,000 followers.  An average post of mine will get 50 likes and a dozen comments.  Nice comments – there are a great bunch of followers who stop by with nice supportive things to say.  Thank you.

Not bad for 12 years of work here.

Every so often a bunch of you encourage me to submit my writing for publication.  I take that as a great complement and sign that my work is appreciated.  Great feeling, but it’s not realistic.  I first submitted stories to science fiction magazines in the 80’s and in the last 6 or 7 years, I’ve sent a number of my poems out.  I’ve never had one accepted.  Hardly motivation to send more out. When you consider that in the literary world most publishers have started using Submittable and charging fees to submit your work, it gets even less motiving to spend money to get rejected.  Sure there are magazines that don’t charge submission fees, but those are becoming more rare.

But here, on Andrew’s View of the Week, I can post something a dozen or folks will leave a comment and 40 or 50 people will press the like button.  Not exactly world shaking, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there willing to read what I write.  I like to consider this, “Self Publishing.”

And you know, for now, that’s enough.

So, will I write more?  I do like the process of writing and using my little blog as a way to share my creative work, so yes, you’ll still be hearing from me.

But, the pizza is in the oven and the timer is about to buzz …

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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33 Responses to Sunday Post of the Slow Poet

  1. Dave says:

    I expect a lot of your readers (esp. bloggers) are nodding their heads as they read this post, Andrew. As they say, “it’s for the love of the game”. And I love the image of a developing poem floating around in your head; something thrown into the oven but not yet fully baked. Very “poetic”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bg says:

    your great . i say keep going and as you say self publish . in all forms of life escaping BS castle is the way to contentment . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Baydreamer says:

    Hi Andrew, I found myself nodding at many points you made in this post. As to writing, during my 6-week blog break, I was inspired to write poetry and wrote about 21 poems. 🙂 I have a journal where I just jotted down thoughts. Some poems are finished, some still in progress. We all have our own path of inspiration. As to submitting, I’ve had a few poems published in papers and one story in a magazine. But now it takes about 9 months to even get a reply after spending money to submit. It’s frustrating, but I have considered trying again this year. Regarding books, this is why I’ve self published three. It’s a way to share my writing, hoping to make an impact in some way. Loved your thoughts and hope you enjoyed the pizza. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Likely I’ll keep sending some poems out to lit journals but if I ever complete the collection I’m working on, it will be self-published. I’m getting old and don’t have the time left to mess with publishers. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Whichever artistic outlet gives you the most satisfaction is the ‘right’ thing for you to do. You don’t have to make a living at it, so why force yourself to do something that isn’t exactly what you want to be doing? So few people make money from publishing anyway – you might as well publish what you want, when you want on your blog, and enjoy it. Your readers thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. pIEdTyPe says:

    Good grief, publishers charge submission fees now? We really are living in a world turned upside down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, crazy. Not only do they charge a reading fee, but they don’t pay you anything if the publish your poem. Another reason why so much of my stuff just gets posted to my blog.

      Like

  6. I had one book published on Lulu.com but they take all the rights to the book. It’s titled ‘The Fly And The Flea’ for ages 2-5. Plus, they won’t let me back into it since I don’t remember the original email. I am working on another one and will have to find another publisher or website. Don’t Give Up! We don’t want to lose the written word.
    Plus, Pizza will give you energy to write. HA

    Liked by 1 person

    • I self-published one book through Roberts Books years ago. They did a good job. If I do self-publish something again, I’m thinking of using Amazon’s Kindle KDP platform. You can do a lot there – kindle, paper back or even audio or all of the above. Still, it’s going to be awhile before I have anything completed.

      Like

  7. Who could not read a blog title “Post of the Slow Poet”. I claim all of your reasons for my slowness, also, except I’ll amend ‘moving’ to ‘thinking of moving’.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good morning, Andrew. This was a great post. I also found that it was really difficult to keep posting when my heart was not in a good place. I used to blog at a site called “Lumberjocks” (I apologize, but I don’t remember if that is where we ‘met’ ) to the tune of nearly 1800 posts. Nearly every day. I don’t know how I did it. I just kind of rambled each morning about what I was going to do that day. But after my little kitty Pancakes passed away suddenly I was heartbroken. Then the world came crashing in as the politics in the USA went all to hell and the civil war began there. I learned more about people and ‘friends’ than I cared to know and it put me in a really difficult position emotionally, as many of the ones who were offensive were also customers. It took the wind out of my sails, to say the least.

    Writing, like art, is very emotional. We just can’t crank out what we don’t feel in our hearts. Not if we are to do anything of decent quality. I think you should take all the time you need and forget about the end date for your poems. They will come when they are ready. Sometimes, stressing on the date kills all the creativity. I know this from experience.

    I still don’t see a “like” button on your posts anymore. Go figure. I know I used to “like” them all before I commented. But now – nada. The computer gremlins have hit. Nevertheless, I always enjoy your posts. My blog on Friday took me three hours to write. With all the photos and stuff I added and had to adjust for it, it is quite the process. How the HECK did I write over 1800 posts before???? And I was usually done with them by 9am or so. I can’t fathom that now.

    Just write when you have something to say. I am sure that I am not alone in saying – we will be here. Especially during these last years, I find that my friends are through the online communications that I have. You guys keep me going. 🙂

    Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do wonder why you can’t see the like button. Are you getting the emails from my blog? I’ve seen a few blogs where I don’t see the like button at first, but if I refresh the page it shows up. Sometimes WP just does weird stuff.

      I do remember reading some of your posts over on Lumberjocks. I tried the platform but never really liked it much. It was okay, but didn’t seem to fit the kind of work I was doing at the time. I am happy that I’ve found your new blog.

      Since I moved to a new city, I find that I’m still in regular contact with all my old friends. The internet has made that easy.

      Sometimes I can slam out a post in 30 minutes, but most times I spend a couple of hours. One thing I have learned over the years is that it’s okay not to post and wait for something I’d really like to write about.

      Like

  9. Magazines and newspaper no longer pay for essays, but I submit them anyway. When the brain fog finally lived (20 years of fibromyalgia), I felt I was too old to submit books to publishers, so I’m happily self-publishing, working on book 3! The first was published in late 2019 and has just over 100 reviews, although most of my readers aren’t ones who normally review books. At least three book clubs are reading it this year, and I’ve got more followers on Twitter (of all places). Write what’s in you needing writing. Your readers will find you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • All the markets I send my poetry to are non-paying. It’s rare to find anyone who pays any more. If I ever do finish a novel, most likely, I’ll just self-publish so my blog followers can get it.

      Like

  10. River Twin says:

    Forty to fifty likes is a handsome number… Two books after, both had to wait years to be picked up by a publisher, my blog does not see many visitors. Likes like summer drizzle! There are still many journals that don’t charge a reading fee…I hope you really find some of them. Many journals close down because of lack of mentors, editors, funds etc. pandemic has made it worse.
    Best luck with publishing. I am sure it will happen sooner or later:)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. jfwknifton says:

    Retirement is not a rehearsal. You must do what you want to do and after 10 years’ retirement, that may be nothing, or doing more things around the house to help your wife, or just chilling out.
    Your wife could learn to cut your hair. If you stick to one particular style, it will take her just three or four attempts. During that “learning time” you can wear a hat.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My wife did cut my hair for a couple of years, but she decided that I should get out the house more – even it’s just a trip to the barber every couple of months. I find that I can come up with lots of things I’d like to do, so my time gets filled up fast.

      Like

  12. Terry says:

    Many of my critique partners did no writing during the heat of the pandemic during 2020 and into 2021. Somehow I completed two novel manuscripts and found a publisher for a collection of poetry. But I don’t own a table or band saw! Keep writing and don’t give up on finding an outlet to share your poetry. The process weeds out those without the fortitude to continually accept rejection. You just need to find the right one.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. HI Andrew, I can relate to this post very well. It is hard to pour time and energy into something that receives little reward. That is why I started blogging too and I love my blogs for the same reasons you like yours. It is a way to share my writing and get feedback and support from others. It is incredibly difficult to get work noticed by publishers, that is true and I didn’t know sites were charging for submissions now. Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dave Foyle says:

    Looking forward to your Matthew poems when they happen!

    I like your short poem ending. “ But, the pizza is in the oven and the timer is about to buzz …”
    Reminds me of Paul McCartney’s lyric from “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” from His 2nd album Ram:
    “But the kettle’s on the boil and we’re so easily called away…”

    Enjoy the haircut! I was paying $18 in SJ, but it’s only $12 up here!

    Liked by 2 people

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