Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rocket Kids and Other Fictional Matters

A funny thing: I started this blog to promote what my agent hoped would soon be my forthcoming memoir, Rocket Lessons. On the way to the publishers (many), I discovered I am primarily a poet with a bad fiction habit.

Like any addict, I don't know how I found myself again working on a novel that's been hidden in my trunk for a few sober years. I suppose it was the Austen Influence -- perhaps my 13th re-reading of Northanger Abbey (my book club made me do it). That novel reads like a series of gossipy letters, fascinatingly detailed gossip with wit and a rather dry wisdom about the follies and fantasies of youth. It gave me ideas.

Of course I also pulled out my short stories and began to send them around. This is just to garner nice quotes from people who don't want to publish my fiction. I think it's rather like an Austen drawing room: editors sometimes like to amuse themselves by their excessively inventive wit in civil rejection.

I do have some short story publishing credits. But what should I do with them? They're like mismatched socks. You hate to throw them away, in case the mate shows up.

Do any of you poets have a secret fiction life? Do you sneak away from the seriousness of po-biz to slip unorthodox prose to editors who have no idea what level of Emerging Poet you might be? To be again just an over-the-transom sub with delightful delusions of fame and fortune, hearing in every contest entry the strike of literary lightning? Sadly, I cannot claim the excuse of youth.