Most recently, I worked as a wilderness instructor for Eagle Rock School, walking with heavy packs and wet boots around the Gila Wilderness. I got back to Oakland on Thursday, and am feeling that sweet end-of-the-year procrastinator's pressure for the chapbook. I managed to do a bit of ruminating and planning while in the backcountry, which is the most fun and easiest part. Now comes the writing and editing.
The place I had my final editing frenzy last year was Philz Coffee in West Berkeley. Near closing time, I had sheets of paper spread around me, working furiously, cutting and taping pieces of poems together with plans to print within the hour. A fellow with thick dark-rimmed glasses and gray hair sat at the table with a friendly nod. As he prepared to leave, he asked me whether I was working on a manuscript. We talked briefly about chapbooks and he gave me his card; it turned out that he was the editor of Eleven Eleven, a literary and art journal out of California College of the Arts.
Once what is precious was printed (by Office Depot), folded and stapled (by me), I sent him a copy of my chapbook, not thinking much of it other than that I wanted to share with him what I had been working on. Some time later, a different editor emailed me, having read that chapbook, and he invited to submit for Issue 19. I submitted a few pieces, including planting, which was in my very first chapbook, Tracing Steps, and which was accepted. The issue was published and mailed out while I was working. I was excited to come back from Colorado to find the journal and see the piece in print.
I like that they didn't mind that it was previously self-published; one of the roadblocks to me submitting to journals is that I do much of my writing online and most publications want never-before-seen material.
I only have a couple of copies of Tracing Steps left. I've decided that I won't be printing more of them, and that I'll only print one run of future chapbooks. The mental and physical space needed to keep up with my annual chapbooking goal makes it unsustainable to keep printing new runs of old books.
Writing has become ever more a personal practice more than a professional pursuit, but maybe someday I'll find a publisher interested in editing them all together... or I'll do it myself through the magic of print-on-demand. Who knows.
Off to keep working on the next chapbabe! Or bake cookies.
You can get a copy of Eleven Eleven Issue 19 here.