Uncategorized

Keeping up hope

Trying to find a literary agent can be a long process for many authors, and I’m no exception. I’ve been querying agents with different manuscripts for about four years now, and though I’ve eventually found homes for those books with a small publisher, it still gets me down that none of them fit with the lists of the agents I queried.

Rejection after rejection can make authors numb to it after a while, and the hope that each query or submission sent out is a potential offer of representation dwindles until it starts becoming something done out of habit rather than real intent.

I start out querying a project with all the enthusiasm in the world, but six months later when the answer has still been no, self-doubt creeps in. My usual method to combat this oppressive feeling is to simply get on with the next book, but this year something else happened that re-ignited my hope.

A writer I know, who’s also been querying for a long time, finally found representation with an agent. (And they’re raving about how good her book is on Twitter, which is awesome to see.)

I was so happy for her that it was almost as if it’d happened to me, and the reason why I think I felt that way is because I knew how hard she’d worked to get there, and all the rejections she’d faced. It was like someone had plastered a sign on the wall in front of me, saying ‘See, it is possible!’.

So now when I feel that imposter syndrome trying to take over, all I need to do is think of that, and I know I’ll pull through.

Poetry

It’s not always winter

I take the knife and carve away a slither.

The exposed skin reddens at the touch of cold air

and regrows its protective casing.

I try again, carving away another slice,

yet still the ice seeps in and forces retreat.

Moons change and the casing grows thin,

I cannot depend on it for support much longer.

The crushing air outside is still strong…but wait!

Is that a warm spot approaching in the distance?

I can last just a little longer. A fraction more.

I reach out

and it takes me with it.

The memory of warmth becomes real,

I shed my casing without worry.

Poetry

Thoughts from a shipwreck

Ocean life ignores the iron

desperately holding onto its skeleton, only knowing

another part of bed where prey can hide and predators seek.

Motes of debris sink to the port hole, or where it used to be

before rot came and the coral took root.

The ghosts don’t mind, the deep is quiet

and the pressure a comfort. Here they can rest

far better than their kin in the ground,

away from the irritating buzz of fear.

Poetry

Miss! Please don’t bully me anymore!

Each tick of a box feels like a piece of me is being chipped away

exposed down to my innards and what do they see

there but a child curled up unable to face their questions, their gaze

 

It all links to that, how I thought I’d overcome the past

by striding forwards without looking back

until I slipped and realised the road I was on was a moving walkway

going backwards to that time

 

How acutely the pain still shoots through me

the fear striking my voice in two

 

I have to accept it should never have happened

should never have been and I was powerless

powerless

 

It’s not a word I want to hold over myself

even my child self

but it’s true

 

I’m not anymore, but I was

then

 

And because I could not speak up then

I should at least give myself enough respect

to speak up now.

Poetry, Uncategorized

Rooted escape

beads in my pocket, enchanted

as I steal away from the shouting, the swearing

down the road and into

the roots of the tower

that seals shut behind me

none of their spits follow me, nor

the scent of beer and sweat and piss and vomit

that has come to haunt

my waking hours

Poetry

Grave Digger

it approaches,

dusk creeping into my skin

but i’m not ready to sleep yet.

i can’t be petrified and forget

the smell of petrichor

as i walk through the long grass

in the mornings.

if it were another’s words

there would be no question that i would fight

but the fractal, small measurement of tar

blocking my ability

to raise fists,

forces me to kneel down and weep

as earth is piled over me.

Poetry

Trauma

it’s a shadow in my brain

a lurking, creeping, whispering thing

that doesn’t shy from light

but swallows it

if I do nothing

if I do nothing

if I do nothing

it will block me in. block, block, block

if I step into it, let it feed off me

and find my blood is its poison

my pulse is its poison

my heart is its poison. beat, beat, beat

it will shrivel up

and become nothing more than a stamp-sized portrait

reminding me that it rules

no longer

a memo note

it happened, it happened

but still I can stride

 

Poetry

Peach Stone

1.

Inside, it’s cold. The density

causes ice to vomit from my mouth,

fingernails blue up to the cuticles.

If I were to examine my chest,

open my flesh and push apart my ribs,

would I see a ball of obsidian

or a fleshy, ripe peach?

 

2.

With you, the limbs of the tree are always

bent with fruit

no matter if the middle of winter

grasps at its bark. Soft, plump, nourishing.

I can always pick how much I want,

cook it up and make sweet crumble

to warm our bellies.

 

 

Poetry

As seen through a round tank of water

Fill up the glass tanks, wear them on ours heads like giant fish bowls. If we spill any, we lose our worth and have to crawl on the floor with those dressed in rags, furiously mopping up after others and trying to fill our bowls once more.

The rags disintegrate, we are naked and no no-one cares. We are filthy and no one cares. We are hungry and no one cares. We have brains and no one cares. We have no glass tanks and everyone stares.

Poetry

Kingdom Crasher

Little demon;

small one loitering in the side alley,

waiting for the merry makers to trip and fall.

Only a second,

and your fingerprints are all over their pies.

Crushed pastry,

you lick the berry juice off and laugh.

This is your hobby, your dream, your job.

You do not see them spying on you,

marking your movements,

tracking your trail.

They are the ones who will see to it

that you fail.