Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reasons to be cheerful

First off, I am orgulous as a peacock because I've got a poem and photos up at qarrtsiluni. It's called 'Cabbage whites', and it came from a walk I did with my sister, niece and nephew-in-law to some local wind turbines. They are in fields on a hilltop, one of which had had oilseed rape in it, which had been harvested, and a huge number of cabbage white caterpillars were in the process of pupating all over the lower part of the wind turbine. It was an odd and oddly moving sight. I took a number of photos and wrote a couple of poems. I sent them both in with pictures, and they accepted one. The other I'll post here in a day or two.

I haven't submitted anything written there before, only photographs, including the first 'Handbook for Explorers' collaboration I did with Joe. If that had been rejected I would have felt entitled to be miffed on his behalf, as he doubtless would have done on mine. As it was, if they had returned both the poems, I was determined to be grown-up and take it in good part but privately accept it as confirmation of what I had always suspected, that my poetry is rubbish. And better writers than I have been turned down by qarrtsiluni. I would have tried not to say sour grapes. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for both the guest editors, Marly and Ivy, their work and their judgement.

However, they accepted one, with a few editorial reservations about things which they invited me to revise. A rather woolly extended metaphor went nowhere; having had it pointed out I was immediately irritated by it and was able to change it. Some punctuation was sloppy, failed to define ideas as it should. That sorted, we had a three-way discussion about whether a past participle linking back to a modal perfect some lines previously was too much of a strain, and should be replaced by a simple past, which in order to scan would need another syllable, which to my ear didn't really sound so well...

Now this may sound a bit like angels on pinheads but by this time I was beginning to enjoy the process of being edited. It all felt rather flattering, no one, especially no one as clever and special as Marly and Ivy, had ever paid so much attention and taken so much trouble over anything I'd ever written before ( not that I'd ever invited anyone to before...). It was somewhat akin to going into a hairdresser or other beauty professional expecting to be laughed off the premises as a lost cause or hopeless frump, then being taken in hand, one's possibilities assessed, plucked and preened and given a careful and expert makeover, and ending up feeling rather pampered and the better for it.

I was not least impressed by their care and attention since they clearly received a lot of submissions, both of them have other significant and demanding responsibilities, they aren't getting paid for it, and I have the impression that they were finding possibly hurting people's feelings and making them unhappy about their work difficult and invidious.

So thanks, Marly and Ivy, and the q. regulars, and confetti to you too. And I'd have said that even if you'd rejected the poem. ( Oh, and I was allowed to keep my past participle.)

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Other honourable mentions. Jean is doing fantastic things with Picasa collages, involving repeats and rotations and all kind of subtleties. When I try to do subtle it just looks dull, Jean does subtle. Jean is subtle. She thanked me for putting her onto Picasa, and I must thank Joe for putting me onto it. Also check out Andy's dancing leaf, quite enchanting, and a post about a blanket over at Sheila's with a photograph of an interior which I found beautiful and compelling.
Molly is back from having stitches out, and getting full cuddle treatment with Tom on the sofa. While she was knocked out I stayed around, and jokingly suggested to the vet that we should have her coat clipped while she was out for the count at the poodle parlour next door, since she is nearly as recalcitrant about grooming and haircuts as she is about vets. He said, yes, yes good idea, went and grabbed the dog grooming lady and roped her into the job. So now she is the best coiffed she's ever been, all her felty bits gone and in between her toes done and everything. She should be bucketless and back to normal in a week or so. A huge relief.

13 comments:

leslee said...

Yay! Yay your poem and yay Molly's stitches out and happily groomed!

Dave said...

Hey, it's great to read a review of our editorial process! I must say, we've been very lucky so far in our guest editors: they've not only all worked hard, but so far they've all shared our basic philosophy about how to interact with authors - which is still possible to put into effect because of the relatively low volume of submissions, of course. But it's still a lot of work to ask anyone to do for free. And I appreciate the forebearance of our contributors, many of whom have persisted in submitting work even after earlier pieces got returned. As for writing poetry, anyone can learn how - I've always felt that. Sometimes the least dreamy people make the best poets, because their language is precise and they are not sentimental in clinging to words or phrases that must be taken out.

Anyway, thanks again for continuing to support the project. I'm really glad it's been so worthwhile for you.

zephyr said...

How wonderful!! On both counts.
i'm not surprised to learn that Marly (i don't know Ivy) is kind and helpful.
And so pleased about Molly!!

Nancy said...

It's a lovely poem, and the photographs enrich it. Congratulations!

Catalyst said...

Nice work, Lucy, and an equal congratulations to the newly coiffed Molly. How about a photo?

marja-leena said...

Congratulations on your wonderful poem and photos making it to Q - though I'm not surprised at all. I find your way with words and vocabulary a delight - 'orgulous as a peacock' tickled me to no end for example and I learned a new word again! Interesting to read about the editorial process, as Dave already noted. Great news about Molly too.

Beth said...

Lucy, it was a such a pleasure to prepare your photos for posting on the site and to read and re-read your poem that goes with them. I was quite moved by what you had seen and how you expressed it, too - nature has a way of astounding us, doesn't it? It's a beautiful submission and I'm glad I got to spend some extra time with it.

Dick said...

Congratulations on the qarrtsiluni contribution, Lucy. From humble beginnings it's grown into a very fine e-zine indeed, competing very favourably with the more established online arts mags. So not an easy touch!

Lucy said...

Many thanks for kind comments, both here and there.

Avus said...

"orgulous" - what an absolutely gorgeous word!

Joe Hyam said...

Late as usual, congratulations on a very special poem. Somehow it made me think of the walk which Coleridge didn't have with his friends (Charles lamb included), owing to an accident, which kept him in "The lime tree bower my prison". Your walk like his non-walk proved fruitful indeed.

Lucy said...

Thanks Avus and Joe. I don't know that one Joe, Coleridge is something of a gap in my reading save the best known things, so I'll try to find it!

julie said...

Congratulations, Lucy! The poem and photos are wonderful.