I received the proofs for my poem, "Waterside Old Age Home, Room 245," a little while back. It's scheduled to be published in the next issue of NFG
I have such mixed feeling about this. On one hand, it's a paid publication, and will be printed on honest-to-goodness paper. Paper! Oh, I love having anything published, but when something's published in a book or magazine ... it seems real. I can hold it in my hands, and put it on the shelf, and drag it out for the next fifty years and say, "Look, look, that's me! This is mine!" It's exciting, and makes me want to giggle with glee.
(And yes, I still drag out my contributor's copy of Challenging Destiny
Issue #10 every now and again just to look at my story, and my byline, and the illustrations. I can no longer say that I love the story or that it's anywhere near my best work, but it's real, solid proof that I can write publishable fiction--that I have written publishable fiction since I was 17. It's just a slow process to make it into print.)
And yet ... ah, poetry. We all know that I'm not a poet. I don't even want to be a poet. And, despite what I typed above and its classification in my Bibliography
, "Waterside" is really a polished freewrite. It was part of one of my gigantic hour-long freewrites (aka, the only way to sit through my Creative Writing lecture without going crazy). I sort of feel like a fraud, like I'm tricking people. I scribble nonsense when I'm bored and call it poetry.
Also, like all of my freewrites, it was written (and subsequently submitted) without any line or paragraph breaks. This was the one thing that the editors all seemed to hate. "We'll have to break this up," they said, and I accepted this and cashed the cheque. In the proofs, it looked pretty good. I didn't recommend any changes. But it is odd to see a freewrite in pieces like that, bits of lines scattered about. A freewrite masquerading as a poem.