Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day 203 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis



Let's hear from one of the women of Askew Poetry Journal, #14. Glenna Luschei presents a series of poems based on readings of the Syrian diplomat, poet and publisher, Nizar Qabanni's works. Her piece, "GRATITUDE FOR MY CAMEL" appears here.
Glenna Luschei
photo by D.F. Baylis
Gratitude for my Camel
                                                Thank you, Nizar for my camel Ma Bouche.
                                                 I rode him to the watering hole
                                                 an oasis of salt cedar and palm trees.
                                                 I know the meaning of his name: my mouth
                                                 laughs while my eyes weep
                                                 and in Arabic:
                                                 the soul laughs while the heart
                                                 He knelt to drink
                                                 while I swam.
                                                 You and Ma Bouche understand me,
                                                 how I can laugh and weep at the same time.



This will probably turn out to be another one of those posts where I piss off half of the on-line writing world and have the other half going, "Huh?". I have been giving some thought to digital media and the electronic market place. I would have to be an idiot living under a rock not to. One of the real pitfalls I've noticed is the, "rush to publish", mentality the whole thing fosters.
There are challenge sites, blogs, and communities of all types and descriptions. There are dozens of editors (the term is being applied loosely here), offering their services for low or no fee. There are any number of e-zines and genre specific outlets that seem to appear and disappear faster than most writing careers. Every one of them holds out the opportunity for writers to post their work and gain exposure. Some even offer payment, though that seems to come and go faster than the sites themselves. Unfortunately, exposed is what so many novice writers get in this environment.
Work gets put up for public scrutiny that is in no way ready for it. What I am seeing are stories and poetry that haven't even been given a decent proofing for spelling and grammar. This leaves me wondering if the authors are that unprepared to actually write and publish, or if lazy is the new standard.
Perhaps this would be a bit less shocking if it only appeared in on-line critique groups or writer's development forums. But it also pervades the electronic publishing world, as well. It is so easy to post something to major merchandisers such as Amazon that the standards one should expect from printed work being offered for sale have all but been completely abandoned. Work that would never pass the muster of any reputable publisher ends up being sold retail or for free as promotional ploys.
Free, or the ninety-nine cent list price that commonly gets applied, doesn't make this trash worthy of a place in the market. The argument is frequently made that the buying public will sort the dreck from the quality. My answer to this is that, when you have thoroughly covered the globe in a uniform layer of crap, it becomes difficult to spot a rose. It also makes it more difficult, by far, for the writers who DO spend the time on their craft to be given a fair, or at least equitable, shot.
In the end, seeing your name in print is only worth it if the work it is attached to promotes the growth of your reputation and how you are perceived as an author. If you post or publish something you haven't invested long hours and a lot of consideration in, you should be ready to accept the drubbing you are going to take outside of an insular group of friends and family. It isn't the fault of the publishers, editors, market, or audience if you commit something resembling a vaudevillian pratfall. In the words of Forrest Gump, "Mama always said...Stupid is as stupid does."
Thus endeth the lesson.
___________________________________________________________________________, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis

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