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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Two months

I was two months without a publisher
while I asked and asked this game universe
to come to this earnest, hopeful boy
with a new smear of butter.

And I said, I see I won't be famous;
still I'd like to have the volume,
somehow to have my book complete,
though the destiny of poems is humble.

And I asked and asked the harvest field
for a maze of sudan grass stalks trodden—
the moment you say, I haven't really been lost,
as you step out of the obstacle, beyond

the game you play with yourself:
and there's the book come down off the shelf. 

***

Mid-August I found out the publisher who was going to release my book didn't want to release it the way I wanted it. I suggested half a dozen ways to make the agreement work, but none suited the publisher; and anyway, their digital infrastructure--the pillar of their fledgling press--was not yet ready.

We parted ways. As disappointed as I might be while still having food on the table, a loving family, a secure home, a steady job, and so on, I was, because September was supposed to be release month, and instead I was back to the beginning.

So I asked, which is what this whole project has been about. And allies told me who they knew. My friend Natasha had published her book with Norfolk Press in San Francisco, a 30-year old press with a stunning catalog of art books and beautiful editions. I pursued them and on October 20, met with publisher Charles Cunningham in person. He wants to do my book and is working up the contract.

As Buddhists say, this may be good, maybe. And if it's not, then something else. I am learning the beauty, not to say the power, of asking. How to ask. How to accept, surrender, hold no expectation; and at the same time do, in Ann Randolph's words, whatever the fuck it takes.

2 comments:

  1. Hey there Daniel, So why am I posting a comment on this blog post from before... way "before" now? Well, you know as well as I that time is only a convenient fiction, even though it sometimes seems to harshly clunk us over the head, as you so beautifully shared your process with the loss of one publisher (in this post) and the gain of another more profound insight (while you were not yet quite sure if you'd gain another publisher.) I had not read this post before, but I am reading it now and am so appreciative of your fluid writing and expression.

    I'm also writing up a blog post on Contemplative Fire to announce "One Way to Ask" by Daniel Ari, having been published by Norfolk Press this week! And that gets me back to thinking about boosting your blog and its readership and visibility. So, anytime you are up for that, let's talk! :-)

    I am inspired again to poke you about that, as I'm only slightly irked that I never saw this post WHEN you had actually posted it. Maybe we can start there... and see where the rest of the conversation takes us!

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