Saturday, May 07, 2011

A big rat, manuscript notes, po-biz frank talk, and adjuncting your way to death

Geez. My roomate and I just saw a gigantic rat outside the apartment. It got mad at us and started shaking the bushes! It was huge and white.

On a more serious note, I called someone who said to call tomorrow about the manuscript. I went to workshop today and got a lot of good feedback on "The Damselfly." A couple of poems in the manuscript deal with damselflies and dragonflies. Feeling kind of confused about what to do with the manuscript, so I think I'll put of deciding what to do with it for a few days. It was recommended for publication by three readers with editing, so I have been revising since November and am concerned I am taking way too long with it. Wondering if this press reads over the summer. Oh yes, I can call. What an idea.


I made some jokes about PTSD and maybe shouldn't have. In any case, my poetry life is quite dull-- revision and more revision. No circle of gifts to give other than words and reading other people's books and doing the occasional review over a book I enjoy. I am disappointed in myself these last few years, as I was overwhelmed with being an adjunct. When I say it nearly killed me, I am not joking. Overall, I don't recommend earning an M.F.A. but more so the PhD is something I will caution anyone in pursuing, unless they plan on attending a top notch school, and I'll say poetry may be the same way. I mean the M.F.A. in poetry. I think the decks are stacked with students of various programs earning the dough. I also think my first book was a true disaster. I didn't realize it would get so little attention all the while self-serving individuals touted their reputations as being "generous" when they were utterly selfish. But we are all learning in this I suppose. It seems this second collection has been daunting. I was too angry, and that anger comes from wounds which are no joke.

I can forgive. I am trying my best to get better.

I have had very different reactions to the second manuscript as a whole. Some like it better than Pity and others don't seem to like it as much. It is different. I think the book was overshadowed by male Latino writers who were avid self marketers and I grew disillusioned at what appeared to be very gendered margins, with the women on the outside. Then it appeared women who were supported more than I was even though I had thought I won some prize, but in the end the Poetry Foundation created a page for me for which I am thankful,but in some ways I am concerned they have their heads up their asses.


I am at peace applying for disability and have come to the conclusion that it affords me time to rest and heal. I don't care if people don't understand. The phrase, "pick yourself up by the bootstraps" comes to my mind, and I understand that sentiment, but I think we cannot really put ourselves in others' shoes or traumas or illnesses. All I know is that some things online are public and prove later to be embarrassing, but I feel blessed now that I have a chance to breathe, to read and to write. Being an adjunct is simply terrible. When I was at U.T.E.P. a fairly young man needed a heart transplant. He didn't get one. He wasn't afforded health insurance. He died. I wonder how many other adjunct English instructors across the country are succumbing to such illnesses. This is why I am applying for disability. I need medical care which I cannot afford without health insurance. It's a sad testament maybe to my own deficiencies which are many, but also a sad testament to the current situation in which many adjunct instructors find themselves. I really think something needs to be done down the line, but it is all supply/demand I suppose, but those tenured profs are often unaware at the absurdity of their salaries being three times the size of those of adjuncts. I'm not saying anything new. The Chronicle of Higher Education runs stories about this all the time, but nothing is changing, and I'm jumping that sinking ship if you know what I mean.


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