Kicking the Bucket-List

Actually, it’s more like I’m ticking off little check mark boxes.

I finally did it.  I sent off a poem to a magazine for publication/consideration.  I’m fully anticipating/expecting to be given a “thank you for applying” notice along with a very nice rejection letter.  I’m completely stepping outside of my comfort zone and am trying something truly new.

I sent my work out for publication.

Or at least consideration.

I really am stretching for the stars with this one.  A friend of mine reads The New Yorker cover to cover.  I wrote a poem today about first-world problems, a piece that was intended to get my students to think.  I wanted to give them something they would have never seen before.  Therefore, when in doubt, just write it myself.

And I did.  I constructed a villanelle about first-world problems and how they can become a bit all-consuming.  And my friend and colleague who reads The New Yorker said that I should send my piece to the magazine.

This is actually the second colleague who has told me this.  I didn’t believe the first one who told me this.

I’m just not good enough.

And I really don’t think that my second colleague is right as well.

But, what if she is?

I keep on dreaming about seeing my name in a publication.  And I really didn’t intend for my first real attempt to be The New Yorker.  I feel like such a charlatan, sending something to them.  I just don’t feel good enough.

But, at the same time, when will I ever feel good enough?

I’m almost done with the application to take classes at a local university.  Hopefully, this fall, I will enroll in a poetry writing class.  Not because I don’t know how to write poetry but because I don’t know how to edit poetry.

I have been putting off the application process for months because I was afraid.  I was so anxious about stepping outside my comfort zone that I was prepared to paralyze myself and stifle my dreams.

Over anxiety about doing something new.

That’s it.  Just going to a new place and doing something new.

But writing poetry isn’t that new.  And working in a workshop setting isn’t new.

But applying to take the class was and I was suddenly and completely and utterly terrified.

So I sat and did nothing but the deadline to register for the class is fast approaching.

And I was watching yet another dream leak out between the ridges of my fingers.

All that confidence I built a year ago has been steadily drifting away and I am about to stand on this molehill of my life and stare at the horizon that is receding.

But I won’t.  I won’t.  I won’t.

I won’t stand here on this fabulous molehill and watch my world fall into cracks of mediocrity and routine just because it’s comfortable.  Instead, I am going to grab back onto the edges of my world and I’m going to move forward.

I sent out a poem to The New Yorker.

I am going to print, sign, and finish the paperwork to send off to the right people so that I might enroll in classes.

I am going to live.  I am going to live.  I am going to live.

In thirty-eight more school days, we will have graduation.  I will have a week’s worth of time to finish cleaning up my classroom and packing up my school life and start grabbing onto the life that has I have nurtured but left in dormancy for the last nine months.

But in those thirty-eight school days, I don’t see why I can’t just start pushing forward.  Writing more poetry.  Finding more literary magazines.

And send out what I have written and wait for the rejection letters to arrive.

And then, one day, maybe an acceptance.

A yes please.

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4 thoughts on “Kicking the Bucket-List

  1. Congratulations for taking that step! My record thus far is three rejections in one day – two before breakfast. But I’m inured to rejection. It’s often not about the quality of the work, but rather whether your submission meshes with the other work submitted to the publication. And of course the reader may have been stuck in traffice, or… Even a request for a submission from an interested editor doesn’t guarantee an acceptance (in my experience it’s more likely a 50-50 chance). But you won’t get published if you don’t send the work out. Keep us posted. I look forward to reading your published work.

    • My friend,
      You have no idea how much your words mean to me. I shot for the stars with this submission and am ready for the rejection. I still feel like celebrating though. I took my courage in both hands and have run for the horizon. I truly believe that someday I will see a “yes.” And I will celebrate just as strongly on that future day as I am emotionally celebrating now.

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