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November 20, 2013: Get ‘er Done Part II

. . . .So here I am, attempting to get “get ‘er done” in my own very roundabout fashion. I’ve been spending many, many years attempting to “get ‘er done.” My problem is that I’m far more adept at making messes than I am at cleaning them up. This extends to all aspects of my life, including writing. I can generate material until the cows come home. However, I tend to drop what I’m doing and begin working on what I foresee as being other, more exciting writing projects.

I’m now really tired of working on the proposal entitled Material Matters: The Field Notes of a Homesteader/Writer.

I’ve been working on this, on and off, for a year now. I originally proposed writing about life here at Squalor Holler. I’m now writing about composing myself as a compost/composing process specialist. It’s now a very complicated project – a big leap for someone who maybe should first make her mark writing and publishing simple, straightforward narratives. But hey, if I can pull this off – I will come that much closer to getting a tenure track job teaching creative nonfiction writing.

And how is it that I have managed, in this particular instance, to stay on track? I’ve done this by relying on my imagination. I have for some time been envisioning my most direct audience, James Engelhardt, the acquisitions editor at the University of Alaska Press. From the beginning, we’ve seen eye-to-eye on this project. We’ve been corresponding for a year via email. And last May, we talked for an hour on the phone. Our conversations, and in particular the phone conversation, have motivated me to keep plugging away at the proposal. One’s belief in a project is a good thing. Another’s belief in a project is an even better thing.

And so lately, I’ve been picturing James at his desk. He’s staring out into space, and drumming his fingers impatiently, on the wood finish. Every so often he looks up at the clock. All he can think about is my proposal. When, he wonders, am I going to be done with it? Maybe, he thinks, she really is a bullshit artist. My bringing this image to mind has made for sort of a quasi-deadline.

As I well know, Mr. Engelhardt is a very busy man, and my proposal is just one of many that he will in time consider. But today, in response to an email in which I said that I’m nearly done with the proposal, he implied that Material Matters invites comparisons to Robert Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I replied that yes, this is a like title. So, we continue to be on the same page.

So finally, after many many years of hard work, I’m finally seeing eye-to-eye with an editor who might, when the time comes, vouch for my work when it’s presented to an editorial board. I know the dangers of getting my hopes up. As a friend once observed “the closer you get to rejection, the more rejection hurts.” But maybe, just maybe, it’s my turn to shine.

Next: 240: 11/21/13: Seasonal Affective Disorder