First, I’d like to wish a happy birthday to Beat poet Gary Snyder! Bon Anniversaire!
The Writer’s Almanac (APM) had this to say:
“It’s the birthday of poet Gary Snyder (books by this author), born in San Francisco (1930). He’s associated with the Beat Generation and read at the famous Six Gallery Reading in 1955, when Allen Ginsberg read “Howl” for the first time. Most of the Beats were city kids, and they found Snyder fascinating because he grew up in the woods of Washington and Oregon, was interested in nature, and had worked as a logger, a seaman, and a fire lookout. He was a student of anthropology and Asian culture, a dedicated Zen Buddhist, and an ecological poet. Lawrence Ferlinghetti called him ‘The Thoreau of the Beat Generation.’
Snyder has lived in the same house since 1970. The house was built by hand on a 100-acre plot of land in California’s Sierra Nevada. ‘We built it with a crew of boys and girls who were almost all in their first year out of college, without any construction experience of any kind, all with hand tools and no electricity,’ Snyder said. ‘Everyone was working, cleaning, cooking, and learning equally. The subtext is that the ’60s sometimes worked.'”
I would also like to announce that I have officially submitted Howling to my peer reviewers! I am both terrified and exhilarated by this feeling (although mostly terrified — there is so much work left and that could have been done!) Of course, there is always more work that could be done; we must let our babies fly at some point, like it or not.
It ended up being approximately 72,000 words in length (80,000 with the bibliography and end notes included), which seems to hit a sweet spot for my editor, so at least we have that going for us :]
Now we move onto the dreaded peer review process! I was able to create a short list of potential peer reviewers who I thought would be good eyes and minds for the task and now it is up to my editor to select the final group. I am told I will hear back from these masked reviewers within the next month or so — my best case scenario at this point seems to be, they rip my book a new one but they find the ideas to be of quality and interest.
I feel a bit adrift, I must admit, not having the manuscript under my careful control and supervision any longer. I haven’t felt this way in over year, not since I submitted the short version as my undergraduate thesis before a committee of professors. They were kinder than they should have been, perhaps, but also relayed a great deal of incredibly useful feedback. Academic writing is definitely a beast of a different color but, as with all writing, it can only be improved through the honest, critical feedback of others who care about you (the author) and the integrity of the work in question.
I hope all is well with you, yours, and your writing. Don’t let tough feedback keep you from marching forward! Take it as a gift and strap it to your tool belt.
all my best vibes,