After twenty-seven years of keeping journals and two years of doing National Poetry Writing Month, I am preparing to publish my first collection of poetry, Separation Anxiety. I’m doing a print edition via the Espresso Book Machine at the University Book Store in Seattle, plus an e-book edition through Smashwords. (I haven’t ruled out Amazon yet, but, given the current dispute between them and Hachette, I’m holding off on that for now. Whatever the merits of Amazon’s stance may be, I think they’re going about it the wrong way.)
Writing a short story last September for the Verbalists storytelling workshop got me interested in writing again, and I resolved to write a book of vignettes/short stories about growing up in the 1970s. However, as so often happens, life stuff intervened, causing me to focus my energies elsewhere. (It’s still a project I want to pursue, but I’m not going to rush it for the sake of expediency.)
In February of this year, after much procrastinating, I took the time to go back through my old journals and transfer the poems I’d occasionally written over the years into a Word document. I took note of a few themes running through the work, and began sorting. A few weeks later, as the 2014 iteration of National Poetry Writing Month came to a close, I made the decision to prepare a collection for publication.
The resulting work, Separation Anxiety, focuses on the emotions that come up when relationships end. The process of putting it together has had both therapeutic and practical value. The therapeutic part should largely be self-explanatory, since the poems themselves have served as ways to work through things. In practical terms, the project has been a way for me to do something I’ve been interested in since I made the decision several years ago to pursue graphic design as something more than a ‘hobby’; it has also served as a means of combining my interests and skills in writing, photography, editing, and graphic design to accomplish something more substantial than selling more Xboxes (or your frivolous product of choice).
Yes, the book also includes photographs—specifically, Polaroids. I felt a simple poetry book wasn’t enough; I wanted to have a visual element, something to complement the text—while also providing another outlet for my photography.
As of this writing, the e-book edition is available for pre-order on Smashwords; the official date of publication is June 30th. As for the print edition, I am currently waiting on the first proof, but I expect I will have it completed and ready for sale by the time the e-book edition is available.
Of course, there is still much more to do. Publishing this book means I’ll have to find ways to sell it—plus I’ve got enough material for another book.
For now, I’ll just take one step at a time.
(8 June 2014)