Monday, November 24, 2014

The Twisty Turny Road to Publication

As a longtime writer, I know how complicated and painful the road to publication can be. Enduring rejection of one's innermost work comes with the territory. Still, every journey illuminates, and
I think it's important to try to gain authentic audiences.
To that end, fifth graders have been submitting to one of my favorite, yet very plain, websites: Family Travel Haiku. If you visit, click on "read haiku" and find the recent Yarmouth ones. The editor's emails are often priceless, bordering on purple prose. Here's an example (as the emails do not appear on the site). And yes, I do answer to "venerable mentor!"
Dear Venerable Mentor,

We must apologize.  For perhaps the first time in the immemorial history of the Family Travel Haiku web site, the Editors find themselves in the awkward position of desiring to publish a haiku with no commentary, not because the haiku is not worthy of perhaps volumes of elucidation by future scholars of much greater erudition than our humble selves, but because we feel that in this case the addition of any paltry comments of our own would merely distract from the poem's self-sufficient power.  However, as it is our common practice (or perhaps bad habit) to comment on most of the poems that we select for publication, we feel that some commentary on our lack of commentary is required, though perhaps in this we may be mistaken.  We hope, in any case, that the poet can, if not forgive, at least understand, our ungainly response to this dilemma.

Humbly,
The Editors
Family Travel Haiku

You get the picture....

And then...some of the young poets decided to write them back. Corresponding is a writer's work, after all. They composed this response, so well matched in tone to the original note:

 Dear Venerable Editors,

We have eagerly devoured your deep, whole-hearted critiques. We have pondered your candid opinions on our debut and fancied them greatly.
Our thank you's to you are bottomless and they last an eternity. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, etc....

Sincerely,
Future Famous Poets

So, if you get the chance, visit the site to check out the fifth grader's metaphor-based haiku. The strong and simple poems will reassure you that we have not all gone eloquence-mad.