Beating around the Bush

Originally posted on May 6, 2009 at 1:48 PM

I remember in my human sexuality class at UT a study that showed that solo masturbation increases sexual desire for a partner, rather than diminishing it. There was one woman’s personal tale of how she told her male gynecologist (back in the day) that she masturbated, and he very sternly told her that that wasn’t fair to her husband, and that she should “save” her sexual energy for him. *insert gasps of outraged disapproval here* Oh, the sixties.

But my point in mentioning this is not to discuss my sex life or even sex in general, it’s to make a very solid comparison. When I first started this blog, I was thinking that it might not work for my job–that it might somehow “use up” my creativity for that day and I’d be unable to write when it came time for the more serious stuff. Fortunately, blogging seems to be a bit like digital masturbation: it stokes the fire, rather than burning it out. I have been more productive with new pieces since blogging than before I started. So here’s to spanking the sausage and remixing with DJ Diddles. (What? You’ve got to have a sense of humor about these things, folks!)

Last night I wrote a poem that I’m really pleased with. It’s the longest rhymed poem I’ve ever written; it’s almost three full pages, and it takes me a little under five minutes to read out loud. I think it would make a wonderful children’s book for older kids (think 4th-6th grade). I want to get it published.

I’ve been dreading the thought of seeking publication for my novel. It is just such an ordeal–such an enormous process. I’m utterly intimidated by the prospect. What if I go to all that work and end up with the wrong company? It’s scary. So, I think I’m going to try to “break the ice” by getting some smaller things published first. Like that poem I mentioned, and one of my pieces of flash fiction, for starters. That way I can kind of learn the ropes and get my feet wet. (Uh-oh. I’m mixing clichés!)

And, if I’m successful, it would look really good for me to have been published before. Just like any other job, most employers want you to have experience before they consider you. It’s hard to convince someone to take that first risk. If someone else has published you, they know that they aren’t crazy and the only person that would ever like your work. That’s why most poets have to get lots of individual poems published in contests, magazines, and anthologies before they can ever get a book of their own stuff published.

But before I can let myself loose in the world of children’s publishers, I have to sit down with this novel passage that I’ve been avoiding. It needs fixin’, and I don’t know how to do it. Time to quit putting it off and dig in.

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