I’ve been so excited this past week, I can barely eat, sleep, or —now this isn’t normal for me —write! I know it’s because I’m artistically exhausted. I just completed the long and arduous task of putting together an anthology of poems titled Caged: New and Selected Poems.
Don’t get me wrong – the task was not without joy! It’s a unique arrangement of photographs and new and selected poems published over the last 25 years of my career, and it was created with the help of an amazing team, including editor Jennifer Bogart and book and cover designer Jo Clendening. Writing, taking the photos and even putting this anthology together—that was the fun part. Now comes the challenging part: getting it out there into the hands and hearts of poetry readers around the world.
It never goes away: that nervousness in the pit of your stomach the week before a book release. Will anyone want to read it? What if the reviews are horrible? And this one – this one will be familiar to many aspiring and long-time authors – What if this is the last good thing I ever write?
Experience has taught me that people do indeed want to read my works, and that sometimes some of the reviews are indeed horrible. I’ve learned not to pay much attention to those if they don’t offer me solid advice on becoming a better writer. I won’t let trolls or nastiness stop me from allowing my creative juices to flow. Creativity makes my life more colorful and meaningful. Besides, there have been many great reviews, and even a couple bestselling novels. I try to focus on those positive achievements, while still giving myself room to improve and grow as an artist. Tantrums happen with setbacks and frustrations (come on, I’m an artist!) but I finish those as fast as I can, and move along. Wayne Dyer once wrote “no one is going to ruin this Christmas, especially not me,” and I try to live my writing career like that. It’s a privilege to get to do what I do. I try to remember that every day.
I’ve also learned that as soon as I launch one book, if I take some time to chill and relax into all that’s creative within and around me, something new and beautiful always starts brewing. So far, each new project has been quite different. I like to think I’ll still be writing and taking photos at 88, but we’ll have to wait and see. The official count stays at 12 books and a digital screenplay —for now!
You can check out CAGED: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS on Kindle and on Amazon worldwide and Bn.com It’s available in three different formats, and ready to pre-order at a reduced price on Kindle until Nov. 10! You can also pre-order the color hardback copy (it has already charted as the #3 Most Gifted Canadian Poetry Book on Amazon.ca! Wow! Thanks, lovely readers!)
The official launch date for the book is November 10, and that evening, you’ll find me on my Facebook Author page, doing a live video to say hello, raise a glass, and thank you for reading. Let’s say 830 EST. I may do an earlier one for my overseas pals if time permits that afternoon.
Copies of the color hardback edition of Caged arrived at our home this afternoon. And guess what? The goosebumps and elation you feel when you hold one of your publications in your hands for the first time? That never goes away, either.
Maybe, now, I can finally sleep.