Monday, April 19, 2010

On getting published---by Guest Blogger Christy Hamrick

Welcome to guest blogger Christy Hamrick!
Christy is writing about the publication of her poem [one that even the Snarky Muse has to admit is pretty darn good]. Writing Dangerously is open to guest bloggers or any writers who want to plug their books, give helpful pointers, or go mano y mano with the Snarky Muse [not for amateurs].
Christy is a NC poet who grew up in Mocksville, NC and graduated from Meredith College. She enjoys hiking and yoga.

On getting published-- by Christy Hamrick

I drove to Boone the Saturday before Easter to gather copies of WNC Woman magazine. My first published poem 'Degrees of Freedom' is centered on page 19 of the April, 2010 issue. The first stop was Earth Fare on Kings Street.

"They haven't been by here. Check at Boone Drug."

No WNC Woman present at Boone Drug or Mast Store, and the helpful clerks smiled apologetically. I cut past Footsloggers and wheeled my RAV left through the stoplight on Rivers Street. As I glanced in my rearview mirror, an ASU police cruiser turned a U from the left lane and flipped his lights. There was no one else behind me as I muttered, "Oh crap", and rolled off to the side of Rivers Street. The officer took his time pulling up my license tag number on the computer.

Oh well, at least I just got my tax money...guess I know where part of it is going.

Patrolman T. Osborne ambled up to the side of the car.

"Ma'am, could you pull up and off on that side street."

"Why, yes sir."

GEEZ! Did I forget to take care of some car-related issue? He must've found a skeleton in my trunk!

I carefully pulled onto Rivers Street and turned right at a campus parking lot. I glanced back and T. Osborne was still there writing feverishly on his clipboard. As he walked back up to the car, I noticed the eagle tattooed on his left bicep.

"Ma'am, I pulled you because it's 25 MPH back there, and I clocked you at 41."

"I'm really sorry. I got in a hurry."

"Well, I'm only giving you a warning ticket, but you need to watch it."

"I will, sir, thank you."

Tears surfaced and I could've kissed Officer T. Osborne. I've only managed to get off with a warning one other time out of five. My face gives me away and I'm usually given a ticket and made an example.

"Thanks so much, Mr. Osborne. I got in a hurry because I'm trying to find a copy of this free magazine that's running my poem this month."

Osborne smiled an uneasy grin like he was dealing with a woman struck by a case of the vapors and started backing away.

"You have a nice day now."

I needed my published poem to present to my 90-year-old Ma-maw the next day. Time is of the essence and presentation counts. Placing a magazine in Ma-maw's hands with pages to flip would count for something. A computer printed copy isn't the same.

"Just like those dadburn cell phones, clapping in church, and when everybody gets up in the worship service to shake hands, running all over the place. Disgraceful! It's the downturn of society."

After I stopped two other places, I found WNC Woman, March, 2010 edition. I resigned myself to waiting until I had a hard copy before mentioning it to her. Yesterday I drove to Shelby and picked her up from the nursing home to eat at Strawberry Hill in Chesnee, SC.

"I've got some news."


"One of my poems is published."

"Who's it about?"

"A lady named Sue Spirit I met in the mountains. She was a street preacher in Akron, OH, and traveled to Haiti twenty-two times. She took street kids as her work crew. Then she built a retreat center in West Salem, OH, and travels in semi-retirement."

"Is she married? She must not be, if she got all that done. Are you still working on our book?"

"Yes ma'am."

“Well, you need to keep at it. Did I tell you about the time”…

There are many approaches to getting your work published. Some writers browse publications and write specifically on the topic or theme posted on a magazine’s website. Others submit work that was written prior to exploration of publishing options. I think the best advice is submit your work and don’t take it personally when it is not accepted. Post your rejections on the fridge and acknowledge the work behind them. Keep writing. If you love words and fitting them together into poems, sentences, paragraphs, and stories, then tuck that into your brain and pull it out when you feel discouraged. One day it will happen, and your family and friends will react with a mixture of pride, love, and curiosity. A few might question your topic of choice or pout sour grapes because it’s not about them. Some may not get it at all. But if you’re a writer, you are true to your gut first, and crafting the words to carry the present into the future.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Thanks for an absolutely delightful post---and good advice on writing.