Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Big Plans


Jane was propped up on her elbows, eating a slice of pizza and trying not to get sauce on her friend’s bed. Caroline, sitting at her computer with a slice in hand, complained yet again about submission guidelines.

“They all say the same thing. So boring. Twelve point type, no fancy fonts, word counts need not include the title, blah, blah, blah. Editors are all the same. I’ve discovered a brilliant font. I swear it’s art in itself, but it’s not one of their blessed regulars.

“Really? Did it come with that font software you bought? What’s it called?”

“Yes, really. Yes, it did. And it’s called ‘Mondrian Whirl.’ Totally cool. Here’s my new poem printed in it.”

“I Felt so Alone.” Hey, wasn’t that the name of the last poem you wrote?”

“No-o. That was called, “Loneliness is Misery.”

“Ah. My bad. But you do write about feeling lonely on Sundays in both, don’t you?”

“Yeah. So? Poetry should be about revealing deep shit, shouldn’t it?

“I guess, Caroline," said Jane. “I don’t read much of it. Fushia paper? I hope you’re going to submit it on white?”

“Nope. That’s one of the submissions. The guidelines don’t mention the color of the paper, or of the ink, for that matter. I used shades of green. Show’s up okay, I guess.”

“You’re out of your mind, sweetie. I can’t even read this font, and I want to. Why would an editor struggle with it?”

“They’ll think it’s daring, creative, attention-grabbing. They’ll think a poet who goes this far out on a limb must have something totally cool to say. They’ll think I’m eccentric and interesting without having to read a word. I’m sure that all the editors I send this to will be eager to publish whatever I’ve written.”

“It’s hard to tell, but I think you’ve got a typo here. Maybe.”

“Oh, that. Don’t worry about it--they’ll never notice.”

“You keep saying “they.” How many are you sending? Are you keeping track?”

“I e-mailed it to twenty something places. I pretty much have them all in my head. I hate record keeping. Maybe I’ll start keeping track when I get an acceptance. Like I said, it’s bound to happen soon. My mother always told me I wrote very expressively, and with complexity.”

“Are you writing a new poem, now, while we’re talking?”

“Sure. I can write poetry anytime. It’s my gift.”

“Jeez Louise, Caroline. Sometimes you sound more like a pre-teen than a college sophomore. But what do I know? I’m into math. Thank God.

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