Saturday, July 22, 2006

July Update!

On Sunday or Monday I leave for the "Sage Hill Experience," a writing program/retreat in Lumsden, Saskatchewan. I will be participating in the Poetry Colloquium led by Nicole Brossard. I am pretty excited about working with Brossard and being at Sage Hill, but I must admit I have mixed feelings about the project I am taking with me to develop. I'm setting aside my St. Ampede work for now (some of which you can find in the forthcoming Capilano Review) to revisit my Scrabble/Oujia project, which I last worked on more than a year ago. JA = Nine: Scrabbalah is narrative poetry about a woman who uses a Ouija Board to contact a ghost-poet, and the ghost-poet uses the Ouija Board to play Scrabble. I completed a version of this manuscript as my Master's thesis last spring, but the more time I have away from it, the more I know that while the thesis was successful in its purpose, the manuscript is-- well-- failed. I made too many compromises trying to satisfy my supervisor's tastes and preferences, and ended up with a manuscript that isn't really me. It's not very interesting, for one, and the unusual formal elements are not all that unusual. Having time away from the project was definitely necessary. Part of my reluctance to dive back in is that I have about 10 versions of the manuscript, some differing in small elements and some different by up to 20 pages of material. Which is the "real" manuscript? Where do I start?

I'll probably start with the writing sample I sent to Sage Hill. Not too voluminous, and a bit of a mix of some of the elelments I think I want to make work, even though they don't cohere yet. I love the book that this could be, but right now it is one of the most awkward collections of drafts I have.

And what's going on with getting The Booty published these days? Brea Burton and I have had a rejection, a negotiation, a false start, and the manuscript is still sitting at the publisher we most want to work with-- you know the one, the publisher who takes 1-3 years to respond. At the start of our journey to get the manuscript published, it seemed that we would certainly have a publisher before 1-3 years went by. Now, I am really starting to hope that publisher X will get to reading it. If I knew we weren't going to get anywhere in the last year and a half, I could have just accepted that publisher X would respond in a couple of years, and not run around and wasted energy trying to convince publishers to take a chance on a funny, bawdy, feminist, two-backed beast. Where are you, risk-taking publishers? Yarr....