Monday, October 19, 2009

I am drawn to frustrating people

Conversation I had with a guy at a party this weekend:

Me: You look like Don Henley!

Guy: Who's Don Henley?

Me: You don't know who Don Henley is? How old are you?

Guy: I'm 28.

Me: He was in the Eagles.

Guy: There were a lot of people in the Eagles.

Me: There were five!

Guy: I'm into black metal.

Me: o_O

Among other recent frustrating encounters: One of my contributors for the next issue of Absent wanted me to make what I considered extensive revisions to the poems I had accepted. I sent him the proofs, he sent back different poems. Poets have on occasion asked me to make revisions before publication; if I like the poems as much or better, no harm no foul. (And usually the poets have said that I can publish whichever version I prefer.) In this case, I much preferred the original poems (most of my favorite lines had been revised out of the new versions), but the author was unwilling to have those published under his name. So I had to pull them from the issue. :( I miss my little poems. His little poems. Whose poems are they, now that I want them more than he does? Editors, have you been in this situation?


  1. Maybe you are actually drawn to people who resemble Don Henley, and those people also happen to be frustrating. What did the poet look like?

  2. I only know the poet through the internet; I've never seen a photo of him. The way I picture him, though, doesn't have much to do with Don Henley.

  3. in fact, five eagles is five too many. hehe.

  4. What is 'o_O'

    On a related note, what exactly is meant when "..." is used in dialogue, e.g.

    A: What's up
    B: Sup
    A: I had a cheeseburger
    B: '...'
    A: Then I had some nachos
    B: '...'
    A: '...'

  5. "..." means anticipatory silence, to me.

  6. It's like dumbfounded, WTF, nonplussed (real meaning) etc.

    I think "..." means awkward or stunned silence. They're related.

  7. i thought he said "i'm into Black Petals," (which i interpreted as a band name), which was even more frustrating.

  8. You should have told the black metal guy that "Hotel California is the ultimate black metal song." He wouldn't have believed you, but you would have been right nonetheless. Stab it with their steely knives indeed.

  9. Instead I told him "Boys of Summer" is the ultimate black metal song.

  10. I can't imagine submitting a poem to someone and then immediately becoming so ashamed of it that I couldn't stand for it to be published.

    I think this poet probably has 20 Snuggie blankets and a tattoo of William Hung. The kind of person who makes rash decisions and then immediately regrets them.

  11. It wasn't *immediately* but it was less than a year (about 10 months) between time of submission and time of (would-be) publication. Maybe I'm getting old but that doesn't seem all that long.

  12. That IS immediately when it comes to publication. Or close to it. A lot of places take longer to say yes than to say no (because a yes leads the poems to be reviewed by other people) and a no can take months and months and months.

    I think it's the jump, as well, from happiness (the assumed emotion one hopes and expects to receive with publication) to an abject sort of disgust with one's own writing.

    I understand being disappointed by last year's writing, and perhaps only reluctantly allowing an old poem to be printed. But it's strange to me to not even want to be associated with it.

    Maybe that's because my last year's poems are TIGHT. hahaha

  13. I've known people who send out poems literally the day they write them ... or bring their copies sent back from The New Yorker or whatever into workshop. I mean yeah, the poem is never done, and I've revised published poems, but I think you should be willing to see it published as is if you're going to send it out. And like I said, I thought the first versions were way better anyway.

    1. I like to think of some poems as having journal-versions and book-versions. When I revise published pieces, it's not because the later version is (necessarily) better: it's just what I want to do at the time and what works for the project.

    2. Exactly; I feel the same way. And sorry your comment wasn't published right away!