My apologies for taking so long to post here, for the informality of this post and the length.
IFOA was a lot to take in. So was Like Water (the multi art project that we presented early October). After both experiences, I came to a number of realizations:
1/ I spent too much time promoting my last book in the GTA, and I should have booked more readings.
2/ If I am going to get an agent, I need to pitch a novel that shows my potential as a best-selling author. The prose that I've been writing is more mid-label than best selling.
3/Our first presentation of Like Water confirmed that we have something, but we need to polish our work.
1/ I've booked a reading in Ottawa in May (trying to find a spot in Montreal as we speak). I have a reading in Brantford in September. I've also sent copies of my last book out West with hopes to get into two or three writers/poetry festivals in Western Canada. So far, I have 5 readings booked (4 confirmed) with the aim of 20 readings for this next book. I might of read 10 times for Bending. The furthest out I went to promote the book was Oshawa.
2/ I've decided to pitch my current novel to smaller presses along with my novella. Who knows, maybe I hit it off with a publisher and never have to get an agent, but, after I find homes for these two books the plan is to write two more commercial works. I've already started story-boarding both.
3/ The past month has been filled with me contacting funding organizations to figure out what grants will work to get Like Water on an appropriate stage. And also researching funding options. My collaborators and I have come up with a name for our collective and we're looking to book gigs.
To be honest, reading at IFOA made me feel a bit like a fraud. I didn't feel like I belonged. But, I'm not going to stop writing. That's not a reason to. All that I can do to insure that my name is worthy to be mentioned alongside the authors that I met there, is to work doubly hard and earn a spot to feel like I belong.
That's it. If I don't feel worthy of the attention that I'm getting, I will become a person worthy of it. That simple.
My resolution for this year was to be happy by the end of it. Not sure if I'm going to make it. I have some amazing friends who I'm collaborating with creatively. Many who I never knew before this year. I reached a point of prestige as a writer, being invited to IFOA -- which would have been a great ending point to my writing career if it was a younger version of myself.
But, I'm a hopeless romantic who wishes I had someone to share these moments with. I'm still broke as hell. The fears I have of what happens if I fail are real. If any of the books, manuscripts, or projects I'm working on fail will I have to reset? Can I still write if I have to move somewhere and get a real job? There's a lot of weight on next year. I guess that's the yin and yang of things. My goal was never bliss, but I guess I'm still on that journey.
The other thing I did since my last post, was add the finishing touches to A Mingus Lullaby. I had them change the layout to something simple, edited the back cover text, and challenged editorial changes to punctuation marks. If it was someone else's book I would have enjoyed the minutia of fighting for layout and punctuation. But, this was my book. It wasn't editor versus layout designer & publisher, it was author versus layout designer & publisher. It was exhausting. It was worth it, but exhausting. If I ever meet a poet as dedicated to the smallest, incremental element of a book, as I've been with Mingus, I'll buy them a drink.
That said, I'm happy with the final layout of my book. And a couple weeks ago, I received an email with the layout for the cover. It's amazing. Mingus looks like a special book. I hope people can appreciate the amount of work that went into it. If it's my last published work of poetry it's a great way to "drop the mic" on a genre of literature.
Here's to new beginnings.