Submission Season

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 by Rachel

If you haven’t already, you should check out the new and improved Poetry section of . It has been blank for way too long, and now I’m very excited that it’s beginning to fill up.


I first submitted poems during my senior year at UNC-Asheville. During my time at NAU, I was much more focused on scholarly papers and presentations than submitting creatively. I submitted during my time here at GCSU, but sporadically, usually when a big contest came up or I had a journal recommended to me. When I found out that I would be only teaching part-time here at Georgia College, I said that there was no excuse— time to submit like a crazy person. So I started, and it’s already paying off.


I plan to devote at least one day a week to submitting. So far this week, I’m at a total of about nine hours and fourteen submissions in. Simply sorting through the journals/magazines is what takes up most of the time. It’s so important to figure out where your work fits in, what the guidelines are, etc. I hope to submit to six more over the next two hours. I’m not sure I’ll make it, but that’s why I keep a list, so it’s easy to pick up where I left off tomorrow.


Submission season officially starts Sept. 1st, once schools are in session. But that’s why I’m trying to submit as much as possible before the real season, so that I am able to knock out both the out-of-season and in-season markets. I am casting a wide net, using the large body of poetry I’ve accumulated during my writing time of the last five years, and I hope to keep reporting publications on an increasingly regular basis.


Thanks for all of your support.

What would I do?

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 by Rachel

On the first day of teaching poetry this past spring, I asked my class “Why do we write poetry?” One student, a slam poet, said dramatically, “Because if I didn’t, I would die.” Of course the whole class laughed, but I think there’s definitely some truth there. In the most depressed moments of my life, I haven’t been able to write. Not being able to write makes me even more depressed. If I don’t have a piece of paper, I’ll write on my skin. This is something inherent about my person…poetry is something that I NEED to do and have been doing for as long as I can remember


In one of the first poetry classes this semester, we discussed the necessity for MFA programs and had the “Why are we here? kind of talk.” I said that without this degree, I wouldn’t be able to get a job. Laura Newbern responded with something like “But why couldn’t you go work on a fishing boat?” That really floored me. I thought, well, I guess I could, but can people really come home after that kind of day and write? Regardless, I’m not really cut out for physical labor in any form. One of my classmates pointed out the badassness of someone like Hemingway, who’s off driving ambulances and fighting in the Spanish Civil War and still making time to write.


I have a lot of days when I wake up and think that I don’t know what I want to do with my life. In the 8th grade yearbook, I was voted most likely to become a teacher. That always really annoyed the crap out of me. But look where I am, as poet, perma-student, and teacher. So let’s just cut all three out of the equation. What would I do if I couldn’t be a poet, MFA student, or masterful English 1101 instructor?



*Doctor (specifically medical examiner or gynecologist)
*Crime scene investigator (somewhere exotic like Miami)
*Horror film director
*Animal cop
*Organic farmer
*Sock monkey manufacturer
*Palm reader/psychic
*Tattoo artist (shaky hands might put me at a disadvantage)
*FBI agent
*Playboy bunny
*Stand up comedienne
*Environmental lawyer
*Celebrity/entertainment lawyer


What about ya’ll? What would you do if you couldn’t write?

Where do you write?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 by Rachel

ernie in a tub
I write poems in the bathtub. I never realized that I did this until I entered the MA program in Flagstaff. Maybe graduate work brings out the weird writing habits in us, I don’t know. Right now I am blessed enough to have a shower/tub combination which I think is ideal for my writing process. Eventually I want to have a bathroom large enough that I have a shower that can hold four people and a bench, a hot tub, and a flatscreen TV. I’m sure this will be easy to accomplish on my poet wages. “Hey lady, can I write you a poem? I’m working on replacing my faucet.”


I am a firm believer in poems “harvesting” in the brain. I never stop and have a poem come over me like a tsunami wave. Usually, a first line pops into my head in the tub. So, for example, something like “Steve wore red pajamas to church on Sundays” will just pop into my head while I’m shampooing. This line will repeat over and over in my head. I’m scrubbing my scalp and thinking to myself, “Steve, red pajamas, what?” Sometimes, I start thinking about all the possibilities of the line, and so I decide to sit down for a while (time allowing, of course).


This poses several problems. First, I am not really a morning person, so I’m usually half asleep when I enter the shower. I lose a lot of first lines this way. Second, I have a pruning issue and can only be in the bathtub for about 20 minutes before I start to freak out that all my skin is going to fall off. (I’ve written about this hydrophobia extensively). If I could stay in the bathtub all day, I wouldn’t even need an MFA program. I would have billions of perfect poems. Of course, I’m mostly joking. :D


Finding out when you write and where you write best is something that’s really hard to identify. I write in the afternoons. The occasional poem will come out in evenings, but this is really rare. I write first drafts of my poems on paper. I never write first drafts on the computer. Sometimes I write in bed, sometimes in front of the television. I am totally against writing in public or in libraries. I can’t focus there. I need to be at home in my pajamas with a cat on my lap to do my best work (that same rule applies to when I’m grading student papers).


So where do you crazy people do your writing? I’m three weeks into the semester already, so I might be more settled into my routine than those of you who started last week, but I’m curious!

I think I’m a man on the inside

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 by Rachel

might be a man

Haha! Maybe not exactly. I hope you appreciate my attempt at turning myself into one though.


This is something that I never quite noticed I did until fiction workshop a few semesters ago. I’d submitted this story, “H2O Intolerance,” for workshop. Someone pointed out that because I’m a woman they assumed the narrator was a woman and was surprised when they got to the second page and realized that the narrator was in fact a man.


I never realized that people normally write from the perspective of their own gender. It just never occurred to me. My story needed a male narrator, so I created one. Even my long neglected novel follows a male professor. I knew from the moment I started writing it that my hero was, in fact, a man.


Last night, in poetry workshop, we had an in class exercise. It wasn’t anything fancy, just write a 10 line poem in 10 minutes following a set of certain stipulations (use some sort of saying/adage/proverb that you’ve manipulated in some way, then use five from a list of eight words that Laura put up on the board). I wrote it the way I do any poem, and I didn’t have a hard time doing it.


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Why are writers so boring?

Saturday, August 8th, 2009 by Rachel

I watched White Oleander yesterday.  I am going to admit already that I have not read the book.  Honestly, I never had much interest in either the book or the movie. Yesterday, as I was planning on scrapbooking on the living room floor for most of the afternoon, it seemed like good background.  Of course, I didn’t end up scrapbooking at ALL and only spent my time watching the movie.  It is fantastic, especially with such a strong cast of women actors (especially Michelle Pfeiffer and Robin Wright Penn).


Like I do with all movies that I watch, afterwards I went to IMDB to check out the trivia and found this: “In the film, Astrid’s mom is an artist, while in the book her mom [Ingrid] is a writer – showing an artist working would make the movie more interesting than showing a writer write.”


Is this really true?  Is watching a movie about writing boring?


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