I realized the other day that it has been 11 years since I started submitting to magazines, and things have only gotten slightly less surreal. Though, like a runner’s high, it has never felt as strange as the responses I got from the very first batch of poems.
9 months after I sent to one journal, I received a copy of the next issue in the mail. The artwork consisted of a series of Xeroxed hands. My poem was in the journal, which I found surprising, since as far I knew, it could have been intercepted en route and was currently lining the nest of some auks in Mexico. When I turned to the contributor’s page, I was somewhat startled to find my bio stated that “She is currently a student…” I thought to myself, “I see that we haven’t encountered a lot of Jewish people in our travels, have we?” That was the last time I spoke in the first person in my contributor’s note.
One of my other poems was accepted by a journal, but the acceptance letter was soon followed by another one from the editor, detailing how he had just been fired from his job due to what his boss considered to be explicit content in one of the poems he published in the magazine (which was printed using the facilities of the newspaper where he worked). Accordingly, the magazine was now dead. While it was sort of neat to get a poem placed on the deck chair of the Titanic, it certainly made me feel like I was engaging in a very marginal activity that would cause disquieting silences when disclosed at parties, like a penchant for driving around in those miniature Shriner’s cars, or obsessively curating ferris wheels.