for Sunday Scribblings writing prompt: Raw
Okay, so I had what I thought was a poem that met the submission guidelines. I tweaked it a bit, adding and scratching out and got it to where I thought it would work. I wasn’t really sure, thought it was a bit awkward in places, but couldn’t see how to smooth it out any further. I typed it up and went off the work.
Once at work, I began to think about what I was doing. Sending off a submission to the one Press I really wanted to see my name in. It was really scary. I had never done this sort of thing before, at least not with a larger press publication. Would they laugh at my homey little images? And maybe I’d overdone it with all the fishing details. The light bulbs came on. I was trying to talk myself out of doing this thing altogether.
In the Hero’s Journey, there is always a point where the hero refuses the commitment to act. To move away from the norm, the safe place, the comfortable traditions of the past. Refuses to make a choice, to let go of what he/she knows, to just sit on it for a while. And that’s exactly what I was doing with all those thoughts. Moving myself swiftly toward self-doubt. I made a decision.
I would go home, write a cover letter, stuff that and the poem in an envelope and mail it out. I knew that if I didn’t do that, I would eventually talk myself out of doing it at all. I would fall back into my comfort zone and never take the chance of finding that wider place of possibilities. I also knew that because of the manner in which this had all come about, it might not happen again. If I turned away now, it would be so much easier to turn away again, should the opportunity re-occur.
In myth, when the mission is offered and refused, some sort of cataclysm occurs that takes the hero’s choice out of his hands. She might be kidnapped, the world he knows becomes altered in such a negative way that he can no longer remain. He/she is forced into leaving that comfort zone, forced into an unknown place where he/she is now alone and must fend for self.
I had studied the stages of the Hero’s Journey found in myth, legends and fairytales. I understood the dynamics and the energies of which they spoke. I felt very strongly that the Universe had brought this opportunity into my sphere, placed it right there in the middle of my path. I was pretty sure that if I didn’t do this thing now, my life might enter into a path I really didn’t care to visit.
I went home from work, typed up a cover letter, made a couple of more changes to the poem, retyped it, and checked it all with spell-check, folded it and stuffed it all into a business sized envelope and sealed it. Then, refusing to think about what I was doing, I got back into my car, drove to the post office, had the thing weighed and stamped, and went home.
When I arrived home and sat down, the first thing that went through my head was: “Oh my God! I sent those people a raw draft!” And heard, inside my head, “Well, it’s too late to do anything about that. All you can do now is wait.”
This is the poem I sent them, the one that would alter my existence. The title had been arrived at during those few unthinking moments. It was a story. As such it needed a background for these two people I had invented from memories, and long ago experience. An older couple, who looked a lot like my mother and father, sitting on their front porch, was the image that came into my mind.
Front Porch Partners
They suit one another, rocking
together; she in polished oak
spindles, he in overstuffed
maple covered by blue afghan
crocheted in years past.
She hums a song someone
played at their wedding
while he daydreams of dancing
with their prettiest guest.
He reviews images of work,
playing cards, hunting, fishing;
hears creak of wooden oars
cutting through cold morning mist.
She sees an old trundle sewing
machine, the vegetable garden
bordered on all sides by favorite
and remembers platters of fresh
fish dragged through flour
then fried to golden crispness
in hot oil of a black iron skillet.
When a frown strains her forehead,
he pats the back of her hand
which slowly turns upward
palming his fingers, reassuring
that she is still there,
still aware of his presence.
For better or worse I was committed, and yes, all I could do now was wait. It was a very long wait. An entire year would pass before I would hear any response, a year full of living, ups and downs, big and small. A year of forgetting that I had actually done this thing.
(to be continued…)