The Writing Life: Turning Point
- The Writing Life
- The Writing Life: The Beginning
- The Writing Life: Getting Down to Business
- The Writing Life: Lessons Learned
- The Writing Life: A New Millennium
- The Writing Life: A Blessing in Disguise
- The Writing Life: Finally!
- The Writing Life:”Darker” Days
- The Writing Life: Struggling For a New Idea
- The Writing Life: The Last Straw
- The Writing Life: Floundering
- The Writing Life: Opportunities and New Lessons Learned
- The Writing Life: Turning Point
- The Writing Life: Opening Doors
2008 was pretty much spent in some kind of creative limbo, at least as far as my poetry and fiction writing was concerned. I had nothing to bring to the table. Absolutely nothing at all. I was still writing many articles and essays for the BrooWaha website, which offered me an outlet as well as connecting with some truly wonderful, thoughtful people. But the frustration was mounting and a sort of “depression” was creeping in. Not a real, clinical depression, but a sort of frustrated, creative one; one in which I was beginning to feel that perhaps I just didn’t really have it in me. Perhaps “November Rust” was all I had in me. The fact that it flawed only added to the growing frustration. But I tried to keep my chin up, tried to tell myself that no, it wasn’t over, it was just a temporary lull. I would eventually get through it.
During this time I also discovered how little those who didn’t do anything creative understood this. It seemed useless to talk to anyone about it because they’d just look at you like you were from Mars. Those who knew what it was like were kind enough to listen, offer their advice, their encouragement, etc, but you soon learn how much others really don’t give a sh** about your “plight” as an artist.
This frustrated me even more but on a personal level. Being that this is a huge part of who I am, the realization that many so-called “friends” didn’t seem to give a flying fu** about how you were feeling is certainly a revelation. It suddenly occurred to me that there were many people who really didn’t care about me. They only cared about what role I played in their life. Things would have to change. It was time to reassess who was with me and who wasn’t. There were many who were not taking me seriously and merely dismissed me as grumbling and whining. Ok. So now I knew who I wouldn’t be opening up to anymore. About anything. The purging had begun.
But in 2009 things began to pick up. I had gotten a letter from Leah Angstman of Propaganda Press that she would be interested in publishing a poetry chapbook. I had worked with Leah a few years earlier, who had been kind enough to publish some of my poetry in her literary magazines. It was just the thing I needed at the time. Leah had always been one of the real troopers on the small press scene. I was happy to see that she was still fighting the good fight. She was and is very dedicated to it all and the books she had put out were always done with seriousness and care. She is also a wonderful poet in her own rite.
So I went back to the poetry files and put together something I thought would work as a good chapbook. By this time I had been exploring a lot of things concerning my roots, where my family comes from and just generally feeling more connected to my Mediterranean background. Many of these poems reflected this. Some overtly, others subtly. The thought of putting together something that would reflect this would be a good idea.
It would sort of reflect where I was at the moment and the poems seemed to have something of a “theme” to hang together well. Not all of the poems fit this theme but for the most part they did. It would work, I thought. So I compiled them under the title “A Symphony of Olives” and submitted the manuscript.
When I first got the proof in the mail, I have to say I was very excited about it all. It looked great, the poems seemed to work together well and it would be the first chapbook of mine to come out since 2003. Needless to say I was very pleased with the whole experience. By March, the book was available and soon after some really nice reviews started coming in as well. I even sold a few, thanks to the new connections I was making via the internet and social networking sites and their reactions were positive as well, for the most part, anyway. I even made a few dollars as well, which is something I never really did over all the years of publishing poetry.
A little while later, Leah offered another chapbook, this time as part of her “Pocket Protectors” chapbook series. It was a great idea, I thought. These thumb sized chapbooks looked great and was an interesting concept. I happily accepted the offer. This time, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I went through the poems and pulled out a bunch, mostly unpublished stuff I had written over the past couple of years, many of them stream of consciousness, free verse stuff and thought of compiling something that would reflect the idea of fun, play and diversion.
There is a Spanish word for this that I thought would make a good title and thus, “Divertimiento” was born. Again, I got the proof in the mail and fell in love with the whole concept of these little mini-chapbooks. They were a very creative idea, an interesting way to release a book of poetry. This became available by the summer of that year and again, the reviews came in and again I sold a few, earning a couple of dollars in the process.
The great thing about how Leah operates is that she keeps in touch with her poets, letting them know when and most importantly who was buying them, which I thought was great. At least I had an idea of who was buying and reading them. Her press has dozens of amazing chapbooks by a wealth of great poets and writers and I would be remiss if I didn’t point you out there to see for yourself. (Just click here to see the full catalog).
Feeling a little better about things now, I continued to brainstorm ideas for my next novel. Again, I took the pages of what was to be the “November Rust” sequel and reread them. Ok. There was some workable stuff here. I toyed with the idea of possibly writing a novel based in the idea surrounding my recent interest in connecting with my roots. Perhaps something along those lines? I wasn’t sure. There was enough written here to go in that direction if I wanted but not so much that I would have to start from scratch. Still, it was just an idea. I wasn’t married to it.
I would realize something else over the course of the next few months; something that would eventually lead to a sort of creative epiphany.
(To be continued….)
Tags: clinical depression, encouragement, fiction writing, frustration, julian gallo, limbo, lull, personal level, plight, poetry, realization, revelation, rust