Let’s talk about something difficult. Say someone near and dear to you is having a book published. Say you are totally beside-yourself pleased by it. You have talked through every angle of the publishing process, cover, and reading/promoting process. You’re going to traveling to a far city for the book launch, and by god you’re even going to wear a dress. (Maybe.)
But maybe you’re walking home from dinner, and it’s been a really long day. You’re both tired. And when he says something about having a book of short stories by accident, maybe your temper flares. You explain that you killed your poetry book this summer. That book had been written by accident, in a way; you write enough poems, you have a book. It doesn’t quite make sense writing it out. But he adds that he didn’t want you to kill your poetry book.
And so you say that the poetry manuscript had it coming. But he didn’t know because he hadn’t read the whole thing. He’s always supported your poetry, even when you were publishing a lot more than he was. And you don’t pause to think about how your roles are reversed, how he is having a lot of literary success, and you aren’t; but previously, you were the one publishing and getting writing residencies. Not a book, but still, success.
And your success and support is part of what made him begin to submit again. You had not been crowing about your own publications for years. You were publishing more than your writing group, and then you were publishing more than your young man. But it is not his fault that you are quiet about your successes. Publishing poems is not something you brag about previous jobs, because the general population has less than no interest in poetry. Also, you are hesitant about asking your non-poet friends to attend poetry readings.
The time your good friend’s girlfriend laughed in your face and said, “Why would I go to a poetry reading, when I could see the [movie premiere of Pokeman]?” has stuck with you for perhaps too long.
Abandoning the second-person, which makes the story easier to tell, as if it didn’t happen to me yesterday, as if I wasn’t the tired person needling her tired husband. With all the good feelings, there is a bit of jealousy. I want him to have a book. But I also wanted him to ask me about my book. I wanted to brainstorm some publication ideas. I wanted him to read my fucking chapbook, which survived the demise of my manuscript. And so I printed it out and put it on his desk. And I’ve begun to, if not crow, then at least mention on facebook when something exciting writerwise happens to me.
Are your friends/spouses/children tired of listening to you rattle on about writing? Crow here. All are welcome.