Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sour Grapes - Whine of Wrath

I wonder if there is a place where people (re: poets) don't squabble senselessly?


Le Quartier de Trouillefou :: View Forum - Pope-Pourri 2006

It's funny, but not in a ha-ha kind of way. In the past 4 years or so, I've gone from AOL chat rooms and "boards" to on-line workshops to publishing the occasional odd poem and flash of brilliance to blog reading and writing and I'm suddenly, after all this time, struck by how similar they are to one another and how much they all have in common with recess down at the local grammar school. Trying to sort the bullies from the braggers and the whiners from the winners and the real poets from the wanna-be poets is like trying to separate wheat from chaff and I'm no farmer but I tell ya, I'm pretty sure that no matter how hard I try, I am going to end up with nothing but little bits of owie-stuff stuck beneath my fingernails for my efforts.

Let's face it....someone's prized grape is always going to get plucked from the vine and turned into someone else's whine. A rant is a rant is a rant...and it doesn't make any more sense when it's pounded home with a sledge hammer. I'm pretty sure some of these people think they're damn clever...and maybe they are....but "clever" doesn't always amuse and it almost never makes real sense. It mostly sounds like, well, sour grapes. In a small world, and make no mistake, poetry IS a small world, is it any wonder that some editors know some writers and that some editors ARE writers and that somehow, somewhere, sooner or later, some editor is going to publish some OTHER editor who just happens to be a writer, too? To paraphrase Jack Nickelson in that puking-witch movie I can't remember the name of: "Women.....a mistake, or did God make 'em that way?" Substitute "pissy poet" for "woman" and you've got the idea.

I'm new to this. Is there some way to tell when "networking" and/or "workshopping" turns into Abramoff-type lobbying? And if so, how do I avoid it? I suppose I could erase this blog, quit workshopping, change my name, delete my email account, dye my beautiful blonde hair mousy brown and submit poetry under an alias just on the off-chance that someone will recognize my name and remember me from Verse Daily or somewhere "good" and then, and only then, will I be a "real" poet who made it solely on merit. I thought "merit" was how we got known in the first place....what happens after that, who knows us, who we know, and how well we get known....that all happens AFTER the original ass-busting nail-biting merit-making takes place. None of us can help who knows us or who doesn't know us. We're either known or we aren't. I always thought getting "known" was a good thing...and now people are trying to make it sound like a bad thing, instead. Our reputation, as it were, is what we've already done.....our future is what we are still expected to do. Besides which - (and I need to mention it 'less you think I'm stupid) I know for a fact that the quickest way to lose a "good reputation" is to screw up by getting lazy. We are, each of us, only as good as the last poem we've written. People aren't going to publish my poetry, people aren't going to judge my poetry based on some poem of mine that they've already read....they are going to base it on the poem they are currently reading. I know that, you know that, and believe me, editors know that.

It alarms me. If I've linked to Steve Schroeder's blog, or to C. Dale Young or Steve Mueske, if I've workshopped at Eratosphere or the Gazebo or on AOL, if I happen to have lunch with an old friend who's started an e-zine long after she became a friend, does this automatically mean that my published poetry is no good anymore? That people will think that the only possible way I can get published by those editors is because I've taken the liberty of linking their names to mine in some common and often-used and abused manner on The Internet? Does this mean that, <> no one will ever take me SERIOUSLY again???

Personally, I don't think so. I either write well or I don't. No editor in his or her right mind is going to take a shitty poem and publish it just to return an alleged favor or to curry one. If anything, I would think they would be MORE picky-choosey about taking a poem from a friend or coworker/blogger/writer/poster/workshopper.....if only to avoid the very rants and whines I am reading now. I know I'd certainly be more careful in what I sent to someone I knew as opposed to someone I don't know...after all, whatever reputation I have is one I've worked damn hard for....I'm not about to screw that up by offering shit to someone....whether I know then or not....and if I know them, and they know me, then they'll be acquainted with my work and they'll KNOW if I've sent them sub-par poetry...and they will, justifiably, hate me for it.

Oy.....I give up. Just look for the mousy brown-haired girl with the numerous misspellings and the penchant for heavy rhyme and call me Gidget if and when you find me.


Radish King said...

Come over to my place. I only argue with the voices in my head.

Lo said...

Why thank you, Rebecca. That's the best invitation I've had all week.