The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I am an Artist.

        As it is still my reign as Princess Procrastination, I had to drive downtown this week, park in a part of the city where there are cobblestones, and walk several blocks to hand-deliver a submission.

photo by skibriye

       The deadline was 5:00 p.m. and I got off work at 3:45...and I had just "found" the poem on Saturday.

       Have you ever looked in an old journal, found some writing, and you barely recognize it as yours? You read it, and you wonder, When did I write this? What was I thinking about when I scribbled this down?

      I participated in a writing marathon on Saturday, and before leaving the house, I grabbed one of my hundreds of barely begun many composition books. Standing around, waiting for the others to arrive, I scanned what was written on the first few pages. There was a poem, written during some writing conference or meeting, a poem that I had forgotten.

      Impressed, I was. Okay, it was not perfect, but since I usually don't do poetry, if it makes sense and the rhythm is workable and there is some kernel of imagery or relevance, I crown it Pulitzer Prize material...

      (After all, I ain't no Shay or Marcia Gaye. I don't masquerade as Mama Zen. I'm a writer of prose, for crying out loud.)

       And I did say it out loud. I had done some minor tweaking, made sure it did not go beyond the 15-line limit, and got my envelope ready. (Since it was for writers who live within 50 miles of St. Louis, I knew I was not competing with Shay or Mama Zen. Marcia was another story...) When I dropped my submission off (45 minutes before the deadline--so early, I wondered if I really deserved to keep my tiara as Princess), I chatted up the front desk guy and another guy who was sitting there in the lobby and who was obviously just wasting time.

       The work-avoider paused, his arm elbow-deep in a bag of chips, after I had explained to the front desk man why I was there. He had looked up some name on some directory he had--after I refused to just hand him the envelope--made a call, and was told that the PIC (person in charge) would be downstairs momentarily.

       The chip guy looked me up and down--made note of my swirled-up hair (from rushing to feed the parking meter and racing along the cobblestone street while simultaneously scanning for street numbers), made note of my somewhat funky outfit (long, flowing skirt to hide the possibly-hairy legs) and the definitely funky scarf (to camouflage the flab) and asked the question that made me stop my mindless chatter with the guy perched behind the front desk.

          "Are you an artist?"

         And without a moment's hesitation, I said, "Yes. I'm a writer."

         And for me, that doesn't need an exclamation point. It deserves a period because--for me--it's matter-of-fact. It's just the way it is. I can gesticulate and talk all day about the exhilaration of writing, and how excited I am about NaNoWriMo this year, and how much fun I had writing a "Fifty Shades of Santa" story and how jazzed I get whenever the WWWPs meet (they're my writing critique peeps), but if you want just the facts, there they are: I am an artist. I am a writer... 

          Are you planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year? (And if not, why not?) Are you planning on submitting to any anthologies this fall? (And if so, which ones?) Are you planning on trying to wrestle my tiara away so you can reign as Princess of Procrastination? (And if so, what are you gonna bring to this rumble? 'Cause I'm reeeeal good.) 


  1. I hiked those same cobblestones a few years ago at the last minute, but there was no one around to accept my submission, so I slid it between the crack in the glass doors...and set off the alarm. Those potato chip munchers came running.

  2. You are an artist, indeed. Art comes in many forms ...... fudge being one! He who loves all things chocolate asked if that "fudge lady" was coming again.

  3. I've done that! Driven somewhere to drop off a submission. I also know the latest pick-up times at the post office. I think that's part of BEING an artist/writer!

  4. "I'm a writer."

    I still have trouble saying it. I wonder if I'll ever get myself to believe it?

  5. You most certainly ARE a writer. Love the description of hand-delivering your poem, and I hope you are among the winners. As for me, that's another deadline I missed.

  6. Linda--It sounds like that experience would make a wonderful essay...What We Do for Art.

    Kathy--That fudge is so easy, your dog could do it if he could reach the microwave buttons.

    Mary--Are you attempting a coup? 'Cause I'm ready...

    Mama Zen--How about looking at all the comments your poetry snags? AND you sing! Shaddup.

    Donna--It's easy for you to love the description. You probably never look flustered or disheveled. And because I didn't miss the deadline, the judges will probably get a bit of comic relief when they read it.

  7. Nobody told ME that a flowing skirt and funky scarf were the new writing t-shirt. You attract inquisitive chip-eaters like a flame attracts moths.

    I have my own kingdom and crown, but I wouldn't mind wrestling yours away from you, just on general principle. Toughen up, Buttercup! If you insist on handing your "just found in an old notebook" works of art in THAT early, your tiara and title might me revoked.

    Maybe you should introduce your notebook to Tammy's sphincter.

    1. Val--The other WWWPs have tried to shove various writing pieces up that skillful sphincter of hers, but Tammy is a wily and a quick one. She's managed to evade us so far...

  8. So he recognized your soul (in spite of the Yeti aspirations you claim)! Pretty nice, if you ask me. Yes, I do procrastinate, but I'm not the Princess. My leanings are more queenly, unfortunately.

    No NaNo for me this year. I have two NaNo mannies that I haven't touched. I learned from the last two that it wipes me out to the point that I barely write anything for the month or two that follow, so it isn't a good trade off. Also, I'm starting a copywriting business, so between that and my creative writing, I'll get plenty of words on paper. :)

    1. NaNo mannies? I love it.

      Congratulations on the new business endeavor. Have you started shouting about from the rooftops and I've missed it, or is it there, perched, right before take-off?

      Last year I left behind a steaming pile of excrement as my NaNo mannie, so I'm hoping to end up with something I'm not terribley ashamed of this year. We'll see...

  9. I hope to see your poem all over the trains and buses! (Except that I don't ride trains or buses. Bummer.) I was so excited about this one and then missed it completely. I don't have the guts to drive downtown. Jim actually offered to take me or at least run my poems for me, but I declined, feigning not wanting to take advantage of his sweet nature. I didn't have the guts to tell him I hadn't prepared anything.

    It really is weird to find something you don't remember writing. But I read that Paul McCartney wasn't sure he had really written of his songs until everyone convinced him it wasn't already famous.

    I think I may deserve to share your crown a couple days a week. I stay up all night before a deadline, then make a mad rush to the 24/7 postage machine to get postmarked. I want to send two stories, maybe three, to NYMB - today. Nope, they aren't finished yet. Two aren't even started ... Oh - Gotta go ...

    1. Marcia--I am not giving up my crown without a struggle. So sharpen your pencils and your fingernails, and let's see what other deadlines are looming.

      Where is a 24/7 postage machine that postmarks? I need to know...

  10. Wow, I'm impressed. I'd never drive to submit something... okay, all depends, but haven't thus far. I hope you win! You ARE an Artist - You ARE a Writer!


Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...