Woke up; reread the email; wasn't a dream. Checked several times.
Thanks to everyone for the outpouring of support and good wishes. If I can garner that same enthusiasm when Theories of Falling is actually in hand, I'll be a lucky woman. So many things happened right off the bat: withdrawing from book contests, editing my bio note, lining up blurbers, seeing a smidgen of Marie Howe's comments ("...the tough lyric voice that got under my skin"). The domino effect is both scary and gratifying.
This weekend, though, I went to the beach with old high school friends (and their kids), and that was a good reminder: a crying two year old is not amused by your big poetry news. I still need to do laundry. I still have to go to the DMV. My sister just won a big college scholarship ($10,000!), and for her application she produced 50 pages of prose. Single-spaced. She's way cooler than I am.
I was reading an article today about the increasing popularity of "midlevel careers"; lower pay, better hours. The biggest question I get from non-poets, in response to the book news, is "Does this mean you can be a full-time poet?" After I say "Um, not likely," they usually say "Well, does that mean you can teach, though?"
It's been several years since I thought of publishing as a stepping-stone to teaching. With many friends who are also college profsssors, I've come to believe that it is VERY difficult to strike the balance of doing justice to your student and nourishing your own creative impulse. I like editing; working at a quarterly magazine, the pace is never too frantic. It's a job I can love, but also leave at the office at the end of each day. If that means that I'll never have a salary in the triple digits...I'm okay with that.
C. Dale Young and Peter Pereira are both doctors and poets, and it figures prominently onto their blogs. Steve Schroeder periodically mentions his work as a resume-editor. Matthew Thorburn made a passing acknowledgement that he works at a law firm in his blog post the other day; I'd have never guessed. I'm curious, what are some of the other "day jobs" held by poet-bloggers? How high-stress is the job, and how does that figure into your creative life?