Writer Fail

I'm not sure if I'm using "fail" correctly; I've seen it used in Twitter messages. I suppose I ought to call them tweets not messages.

I had intended to submit an application to a writers' colony for next fall. The deadline was yesterday. Oh well, I probably wouldn't have gotten in anyway. Writers' colonies are for literary folk, not people like me who write humor and genre.

I'm embarassed to admit that my (non-digital) writing files have gone missing. I know that they're somewhere in my apartment, but back in August when I was going away to New Mexico for ten days I frantically moved things around in an attempt to make everything more organized and now--I can't find my files.

This is a temporary situation; I will find them, eventually. It's on my list of things to do.

I did manage to find the file with the manuscript of my first novel, which I am re-typing because the only digital file I had of it became corrupt somehow. Now whenever I finish typing in a couple of pages I e-mail them to a gmail account I set up. (Thank you, Wayne Hoffman, for that suggestion.) My second intention (after submitting an application to the writers' colony) was to submit the novel to a contest. The deadline for that is October 31. Any bets on whether I'll make it?

I was motivated to set these intentions by a reading I attended on September 20. My friend Kathleen Warnock hosts a reading series called Drunken! Careening! Writers! at the KGB Bar on East 4th Street on the third Thursday of every month. This particular evening was dedicated to Cheryl Burke, aka Cheryl B., a poet and writer who'd died from complications from Hodgkin's Lymphoma in June 2011 at the age of 38. Cheryl had been working on a memoir when she died, and the writers in her writing group gathered the pieces that she'd shared with them over the years and put them together into a manuscript, which Sarah Schulman, Cheryl's literary executor, then edited and found a publisher for. My Awesome Place is coming out this month from Topside Press.

I used to do poetry slams with Cheryl. We saw each other at readings and literary events over the years. She helped out with several Publishing Triangle events, and we were both part of a small group of of lesbian editors, agents, publicists and writers called All Girl Action that organized a couple of parties and put out a reading list. Cheryl was smart and funny and I admired her a lot, though I never told her so. Because I took her for granted. I thought Cheryl would always be around.

At DCW last month, Kathleen commented that Cheryl had been one of the writers who read at the very first reading in the series. The other two were Mark O'Donnell, and me. Mark O'Donnell died of a heart attack at the age of 58 in August. It was eerie, sitting in the KGB bar and realizing that I was the only one left of that initial trio of readers.

Many years ago, a friend of mine from college told me she wanted to read the novel I was working on at the time--that I'm still working on, sort of. I didn't send it to her because I wanted to work on it some more before I showed it to her; I wanted it to be better than it was. I took Pris for granted. She died when lung cancer spread to her brain.

My friend Bob Smith is an amazing writer. He's fighting a life-threatening illness and I'm rooting for him to win so he can write more books that I can read.

I know so many writers. My cousin Marcy writes EVERY DAY. Every single day. My friend Greg Herren has published more books than I could ever hope to write.

I have so much support from so many incredible people; I get good feedback--and I do nothing. Days, weeks, months go by and I do nothing.

Publicly, I declare myself to be "a writer and poet." Yesterday I got a postcard (through Postcrossing.com) from Marketa, a woman in the Czech Republic, saying, "I admire that you write. That's my other dream. Write book."

I wrote Marketa a message acknowledging her postcard. I told her to write her book. I shared the Mary Oliver quote that I have pinned up on my bulletin board by my desk:"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time."

I'm writing this at work. I actually had to close my office door because I started to cry while I was writing it. Go figure.