|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
GLORY IN THE NOISE
Let's finish up this appearance by Glenna Luschei of ASKEW POETRY JOURNAL, Issue #14. We go out as we came in, showcasing her poem, "Gratitude for my Camel". My thanks to Glenna for her permission to run this piece.
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.
DO I PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH?
By way of answering that, I'm going to take a moment for a small ego cascade. This morning, before leaving for my day job, I did what I always do. I checked my traffic counters and my multiple email accounts. Today there was a real cause for a bit of the old YEE-DAMNED-HAW!!!! In the mail was an acceptance by an e-zine for a story I've spent some time working on.
How much time? Well, there was the outline, the character studies, and the setting research. Then came the rough draft, which started, as most of mine do, in long hand on yellow pads. Then there was the first draft. No, I don't consider my roughs as first drafts. This was rewritten two times before I finally gave it a title, " *********** v.1".
A little market research and out the door it went. Bummer. No acceptance letter that time. So then it got sent right back out, with the same result. Hmmm? I took another look at it and made some grammatical, spelling, and continuity corrections (you'll find them too - take my word for it) and out it went again as, " ********* v.2".
And we repeated this through V's 3, 4, 5, and 6. Each time it came back I found something I could have done better. Maybe I needed to take a look at those adverbs and adjectives that sneak into a work when I'm not looking? Was the voice consistent or was I head-hopping? Was my syntax moving the story along or slowing it down? Massage, knead, tweak.
Well v.6 appears to have been the magic combination! All of this work, over about a seven month period, for a story of approximately 3600 words. Was it worth it? You tell me when you see that magic phrase, "We will be sending you an author's contract later this week. Please sign and return it as soon as possible." If you're not turning f *&# ing handsprings down the hall in your underwear then you're far more jaded than I am!
Moral to this story? Don't quit! Don't even consider it. (Oh, alright. So the first few minutes after you receive a "Piss Off" notice is allowable.) Put the piece aside for a week and then take a look at it. Proofread it and you'll be surprised at what you'll find. Then look for the story elements and passages that need the muses touch. All that done, give it the next V number in the sequence and send it back out. I've been making that slog to the post office or hitting the send button for over four decades now and I haven't found that place where success shows up before work. Except, maybe, in the dictionary, where it shows up sandwiched between shit and syphilis.
Oh, which publication and story am I talking about? As soon as I get the legalese out of the way, I'll let you know. Actually, I'll be flogging it like mad. I need the bucks!
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis