Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Convoluted Poetry Politics

I've been waiting for a book contract with the press (which I won't name here) which, a year ago, requested a copy of my manuscript. Last December, I received notice that my book publication was in the 2013 budget, the 4th of four books on their production calendar. I've made announcements of sorts about this deal, mainly to friends, but lacking the contract, I was wary to make it known in the larger world.

Saturday I found out that my project had been dropped, because of the restraining order that's on file with the City of Seattle against the man who assaulted me last summer and who also destroyed $4k of inventory at my job. See, he's on the board of the press, and is very active. I don't know any other details.

And in fact, he may very well read this blog post. And if he does, he'll know that when I read the email containing this information, it felt like a punch my gut: all the air was smacked out of me. I felt betrayed, angry and nauseous. If his intent was to do the most damage to me possible while complying with the requirements of his protection order, then he was most successful. (I don't know if I'll ever know why this friend of 20 years suddenly turned enemy. It's baffling and confounding, and tests all my resolve in my effort to remain a loving and compassionate human being.)

It's a complicated situation. The Executive Director is a friend who is also a member of my writing group. She's a good person, an ethical person, and I'm guessing that she has been backed into a corner. Irony is that this press wouldn't even exist if, in 1991, I hadn't pulled together a diverse group of people to form a writing critique group — three years later, the group gave birth to the non-profit press, which has been operating in the black ever since. I was only active in the press from 1994-2002, and my only claim to it now is as a co-founder.

The man facing felony criminal charges here has been a driving force behind the press. As a grant writer and fund-raiser, his all-volunteer efforts have paid off generously. There is a lot which he can be proud of — I'm willing to give him that.

But if an organization's board member assaults a client, I believe that his resignation should be demanded. I understand that there's a lot at stake here, and it's a very complicated scenario. It's ugly, it's uncomfortable, and I really don't desire to fan these flames any more than the writing of this blog post. And I think he knows this. So, in essence, I'm backed into the corner too.

So, for the moment, no book in the works.

Bigger and better things, perhaps?
I think yes.


  1. You're a better woman than I because I would consider the cutting off of genitals, in my mind anyway. I have a rather violent imagination.

    In truth, I would turn the other cheek as well, but would not forget. My ex-husband locked me out of my home because I had the balls to leave him. He was drunk, angry and depressed and lashed out at me and our daughter by locking us out and leaving town. I have forgiven him but I will never forget, nor trust him again.

    I'm sorry because this sucks. Sending hugs.

    1. lily cedar, forgetting is not easy, but love is easier than anger or hate. I'm so sorry you had to endure that abuse from your ex-husband. Life is so very often so very unfair, and cruel.

      Here's hoping your days now are filled with things that bring you joy.


  2. holy cow! this is mind-boggling, T. the harm we do to others...always stuns me. i am so sorry to read this.

    1. Of course, Susan, your comment turns me to self-reflection, and the harm I have wittingly or unwittingly done to others. There's a reason Pema Chodron calls "loving kindness" a practice. I think I'm going to be "practicing" it for the remainder of my days. And not for 30 minutes every day, as if it's the piano, but all day, every day. Knowing, I'll never get it completely right.


  3. People are cruel, even family!

  4. Ouch, T. This is a mind-bendingly complex situation. I'm so sorry this is happening. Being 'backed into a corner' through a man's mis-use of power is in no way fun. I'm not sure how one makes peace in these situations except that it's a day-by-day process and, as you have said, a daily practice. (If I had to equate the parallel saga I've been having to make sense - and peace - out of here with piano practice, I'd have to say my piano's had more attention in the last six months than it's had in the 44 years I've had it. Sooner or later, bewildered banging and jagged arpeggios become music. . .?)

    NZ has some excellent poetry presses --- would you consider sending you manuscript here? xo

  5. Oh this is disheartening. You are right to rise above. Hard as that may be, there's really no other way. The man who blocked you will reap his own karma. But so sorry to hear this!

  6. So very disappointing, T. What a jackass that man is - a vengeful hateful stone of heart kind of fellow. I know how excited you were -- I was, too. Maybe another publishing avenue will now open up that will be even better. xoxoxo

  7. T, I'm so sorry. But I'm confident another publisher for your book is out there and ready for it--and I'm looking forward to it.