Old Moon

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Perennial Question

I've just taken a rare look at the little list of my "followers." Clearly I should have done it sooner. There are a couple or three that I decided I'd like to know something about. How to do this? I went to the other blogs they follow. Having done that, I wonder if it was a good idea. What in the world has led them here in the first place, and especially, why would they list themselves as followers? If they visited once, have they ever read anything here again? Is there some kind of (sinister?) prank better suited to social networking sites? I'll bet if they do read this, they'll know who they are. If they're gentlemen, maybe they'll post a comment that will answer my question.

Some bloggers are obviously grinding axes; some are venting; some have miseries or excitement they want someone else to know about. I thought this was to help promote my books, etc. Well, I've realized after far too long that bragging is something I don't know how to do in a way that wouldn't alienate a homeless puppy. So I put something in the "gadgets" to let any reader know what's been published, but I have trouble doing more than that. Note: another story should be on Books to Go Now in a few days. Note: a poem will appear next March (2011) in an online journal called Lowestoft Chronicle. There, I did it. I think this is the second time I've mentioned these things.

So then I have to ask myself if there's any good reason for commenting on writing and being old, and all that. Probably only the sort of built-in compulsion of a would-be writer. Thank goodness there are so many of us out there I needn't feel peculiar. If I could claim the ability and need to earn a living writing, it would be different. I'd starve if I had to do this to get fed! So on I plow. As I sometimes tell my friends at a distance and my children (ditto), it keeps me out of the traffic.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Time, the Enemy

There are too many days when even after (long) retirement, you can't get to do what you want to when you want to do it. I'm not really complaining because I understand how good for mind and psyche it is to be busy, but...

Having been asked to make and offer for sale some poetry chapbooks for the upcoming pre-Christmas event here where I live, I did my best to comply. BIG mistake! Before I started, I considered how few gift and craft buyers might be interested in poetry by a complete unknown, but I reasoned that I could use my computer, copier, and printer to turn out something acceptable for that particular venue. If you're interested in how that all went, check out www.seniorwomen.com, where I vented for their Money and Computing section. It will probably be up next week. The point is that it took me literally days to do something so seemingly simple. Now if I don't sell a hundred of the things in the next year I'll never consider more than the first two hours were worth it. And how likely is that?

Then there are the committees that you know are needed that deal with matters you know are important to the community as a whole or to you personally. Once you get on one, just try to get off! I love our newsletter. It's uncommonly good for what it is, and I know because I've seen two dozen others from other communities. I've been on the editorial board for years--too many years. I want to get off (because I have to assume editorship of an issue twice a year and that's a week or two out of my life), plus a monthly meeting. I've been trying for more than a year. Looks like feet first will be the only exit from that. After nine years, I did get someone else to do the library catalogue.

We're a bunch of elderly and often failing souls here, and we're friends. Fortunately, there is a resident census small enough to allow us to know almost everybody. You can see where this is going. When you're one of the ones left standing, you have to step up to the plate, and indeed you're glad to. You substitute at bridge, take a friend to a doctor's appointment, pick up something at the grocery on a day you never go there, etc. If only you weren't in the middle of something you've put off for months because...

Well enough said. I'd just like to remind any writer/readers out there that they need to try to cultivate a stubborn "my work first" streak if they can. Don't be like me and take two years to revise a book you finished the draft of five years ago. And consider this: I'm a widow with only my animals to care for at home. If you're under forty, forget I said that.

PS: another story of mine will soon be up on www.bookstogonow.com. I'll post the cover when I see it.

Friday, October 8, 2010


This has been a good month. Another online publisher has just accepted a poem. The Lowestoft Chronicle as you can guess, is an English literary journal specializing in matters connected with travel. My poem is set in Ripon Cathedral. We'll be looking for it in the March, 2011 issue.

So great to be given some legitimacy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Electronic Publishing, Again

I love books. I mean those bundles of paper and print that you must turn pages to read, hold in your lap or up in your hand, with their handsome or ugly covers, their special smells, and that give off the instant signal that what you have before your eyes is YOURS! Sure, you may decide to lend it, but you expect to get it back...well, you get what I mean.

The problem with getting into one of those wonderful things is that you have to be either much better at writing than 99% of others who do it, or you have to stumble on a subject that has unexpected importance and resonance for an enormous number of potential readers so your publisher can hope to make a financial killing, or you know the right people in the right places who are willing to support and/or promote you because of who you are. When none of these situations apply, you end up with electronic publishing when you run out of time or hope or can't afford to do it yourself.

Well, I've just happened on another one of these havens for homeless manuscripts. Www.bookstogonow.com is calling for short stories. Their turnaround time is impressive: less that two weeks. I haven't been able to get out of them what the copyright status is, but they offer a return to the author in the form of a portion of their small charge for the story they publish, which is supplied with a "cover" and an author's note. They seem to have a pretty varied list, largely genre, but they took my short story that isn't of that ilk. I might earn a dollar or two if I'm lucky. Give them a look--for fun.