So you can read my books

Friday, September 10, 2010


{"Publication - is the auction of the Mind of Man."

~Emily Dickinson.}

That fabulous scamp of a gentlemen, Samuel Clemens,

asked me to write in this "computer newspaper," as he calls it.

The dear somehow knew this date was important to me.

“Success is counted sweetest” was published anonymously in an anthology titled A Masque of Poets on this day in 1878,

the last of the handful of my poems published in my lifetime.

Though I remained firm in my decision that “My Barefoot-Rank is better,” this poem does reflect my continued mixed feelings about publishing:

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory!

As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!


I wonder, struggling souls, what would it mean to you if you were never published?

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.

How long would you continue to write should publication elude you? Are the words burning within you to find life on the page?

For me, I never stopped writing :

HOPE is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

Will you stop writing if the years pass, leaving you unpublished? Why? And if you would continue, why? This tender spirit would like to know.


  1. So true, Ms. Dickinson! I dread publication as much as I want it, sometimes maybe more. Does that make sense?

    I've succeeded in non-fiction writing and know how grueling writing for a living can be.

    So, if I don't get my novel published, I may just have to moonlight elsewhere.

    Loved your, "Dwell in possibility" quote, too. It's one of my favorite places:)

  2. Before I was published, I wanted it more than anything. Now that I am published, it's almost like a need that keeps having to be fulfilled. One book published wants to be two, and two wants to be three, etc. I think it's that we all want to keep growing and not be stagnant at any one level.

  3. While I have a dream of "being published," I enjoy the journey more. I do what I love and leave the outcome to a higher power. This means whatever happens is okay in my heart. I will be led by spirit and not fret. That means, I will write no matter what.. unless my heart says "do something else."

  4. Those computer-newspapers are great! I think they're going to be big one day...

    Writing is the only facet of my life that has never faded. No matter what's going on, it's always there. Sure, Writer's Block plagues me every now and then (with a black cape and fangs), but I always return to those pages.

    Can't quit your soul, right? And writing is very much a part of me.

  5. Gaily bedight
    A gallant knight,
    In sunshine and in shadow,
    Had journeyed long,
    Singing a song,
    In search of Eldorado

    But he grew old-
    This knight so bold-
    And o'er his heart a shadow
    Fell as he found
    No spot of ground
    That looked like Eldorado

    And, as his strength
    Failed him at length
    He met a pilgrim shadow-
    "Shadow," said he,
    "Where can it be-
    This land of Eldorado?"

    "Over the mountains
    of the Moon
    Down the Valley of the Shadow,
    Ride, boldly ride,"
    The shade replied-
    "If you seek for Eldorado!"

  6. I would never stop. All these words in my head after go somewhere. They would scream until they got to come out.

    It would be sad to never be published, but I would deal--and keep writing!


  7. You could never get me to stop writing, publication or no publication. I love it too much.

    Although I think after a few more years if I'm still nowhere near with agent... I would write less than I do now, if only because I have other things that interest me. :)

  8. Stopping is not an option. I'm enjoying the journey too much to think about the published end state.

  9. The words yearn to be let out. I could never hide it, never run from it, they always find me, and it doesn't matter if I'm published or not, they always will.

  10. Honestly, if I never got published, I would let some friends read the finished work and tell me their opinions of it. If they liked it, if it made an impression on them, I would be happy. But I probably wouldn't stop writing.....

    I really like the Dwell quote, as well as the Hope one. Thanks for this. It undergirds as well as encourages...

  11. I'm published (with six books) but if I never hit a big publisher or a best seller, I'll live, I promise! And I'm sure I'll keep writing, although I'm on hiatus right now.

  12. This post is a gift- thanks to Ms. Dickinson and Mr. Yeomans, both ;)

    You know, I have always had to write. It is not a hobby, it is not a choice. Like others who have already said it better than I could, it's something that I must do to make the everyday business of living a possibility for me- a bargain I make with myself to retain a modicum of sanity.

    I have at points in my life attempted to stop (not because of frustration about publishing but for other reasons) and it's always the same. First I grow heartsick, then I get (more) physically sick (than usual). If friends hear I'm not writing, it's then they begin to worry.

    It's a very odd thing, Roland, I never considered trying to get published before I lost my sight. While I was pretty much completely blind, being led everywhere, trying to master skills like cutting my own food without hurting myself and doing things like setting myself on fire on the stove burners trying to pretend I was still fine to cook, I thought of things I hadn't done, or might want to do if they managed to restore any sight.

    I'd written my first 'novel' (now I know considered a 'novella' at a petite 52k words) before I lost the last of my sight and I thought it was the most marketable thing I'd done. I thought it had a shot- so why not try it.

    How naive I was. How completely unaware of how publishing works.

    I did my research- and in the end, I submitted 3 queries to 2 agents (one requested more material in future.)

    The first resulted in a request for the manuscript which after 3 months consideration was finally passed on (my novella) but also the request for more (my second ms was also later rejected but the full was requested but that one I knew needed work-queried way too soon.)

    My second agent queried gave me a form rejection within minutes.

    I've spent the last year stewing over whether or not to keep trying, and for me, the answer is no- at least not now. Because you see, when I lost my sight and wanted to get published a funny thing happened- I forgot why I write.

    When I got my sight back, looked into traditional publishing, read the stories good bad and ugly- I was so paralyzed by it all that a really bad thing happened- and for months I had the worst writer's block ever.

    Finally, it's going away, it began to improve the moment I promised myself I never had to write another query letter again if I didn't want to.

    They say 'develop a thick skin'. I am just not that sort- I am not cut out for that world. I want to be who I am more than I want to be published, and for awhile, trying to find an agent changed me and I hate that.

    So. Sorry this is so long- but I feel so strongly about this really pulls at my heart so much.

    I will always write.

    I may look for creative ways to get published contests or anthologies maybe, who knows, maybe even one day I'll want to self publish though I know my health isn't good enough to take it on any time in the near future.

    But I will always write. Alone, in an ongoing series online with friends, and I will write things that matter to me and will hopefully have the smallest chance of touching someone's heart the way that your post- your writing in general- touches mine.

    You're a treasure. Thank you again for this gift.


  13. The music is too short, Dear. I was just getting into it when it cut off.

    I wish I could write poetry. It is lovely.

    If I'm never published, I guess I'll still keep writing for the blogs. I'm addicted now. And sometimes, I write something that people enjoy. I got my day job, afterall. And its so much fun in here.


  14. Hard question. I do write to get the stories out, but I also write them for others, the ones who'll read it. I feel like I have something worth saying, and I hope others would agree.

  15. Thought provoking post. I will never stop writing. If publications eludes me, then what I write will change, but not that I write. I am a writer, published or not.