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November 30, 2011: Playing My Cards Right

I have never been a very good self-promoter, and have become less so over the years.  Writing, not marketing, gets the endorphins going.   Writing puts me in the moment, makes time seamless/seem less.  Marketing my work makes me clock-attentive.

I come from a family of non-promoters. For years my father has been lamenting the fact that Mickey Mouse sold out and became a Disney icon.  So much for Steamboat Willy.  “And so it goes,” Kurt Vonnegut said repeatedly, meaning that change is a constant.

 I also believe that good writing should speak for itself – but, I’m coming to realize that I too need to speak for it.  The other night I could not sleep—instead I tossed and turned, unable to get away from the very thought that I was thinking, which was that I ought to try and do something else with my life.  I

Snow cornice on our porch roof
Snow cornice on our porch roof

gotta start pulling my weight.  I have four horses to feed, and a fifth is on the way. And I want to do Part II of the Long Ride. But what?  No ideas came to mind.

But then I saw an image—a hand holding playing cards.  The message from the higher powers was this: I now have a handful of cards.  I took the ball and then began to run with it.  These cards represent the fruits of my recent efforts.  We’ve finished the trip dispatches and are soon to do a slide show.  And I’ve published a handful of articles about the trip. I’ve also rewritten a book proposal, and revised accompanying chapters.  I now need to let agents and publishers know about all this, and as well, that the anthology that I just co-edited,  Remembering Wendy Bishop: Composing ourselves as Writer-Teacher-Writers—has just been published. 

All, if I act in a thoughtful manner, will lead to what I most want, publication and a job teaching creative nonfiction writing.

In the meantime, life ain’t too bad.  I’ve struck a nice balance between my internal and external lives.  I very much enjoy working with, and spending time with all the animals.  This better roots me to this place, and to the life I’m now leading.

Next: 2. 12/2/11: Impasse