Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who Do You Want To Be?

This goes a long way toward explaining why I have such a difficult time with this whole publishing bidness sometimes. These are not the queries I would have chosen.

Many years ago, when I was first getting into this nut house, I was but a naive young student of creative writing at the University of Mississippi. Actually, I was a computer science student about to change my major. The English department held a poetry contest, free to anyone to enter, so I submitted my three best poems because, at the time, I was a serious poet, not a fiction writer.

A guy named Iggy who lived down the hall from me decided it would be fun to enter, too. Iggy was an original skater dood. He wore pajamas everywhere - to class, to dinner, to the bars on the square, even to bed. Iggy's intention was not to win - it was to satirize the pretentiousness of academic poetry, which he hated. He did so by writing a short poem about a black woman drinking at a water fountain (Ole Miss, with it's history of racism, was the perfect venue for this subject), which was actually blatantly symbolic of a woman giving head.

None of my three entirely forgettable poems even received an honorable mention, but Iggy's suck my dick poem won third place.

I should have known then how difficult this career path was going to be.

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