Saturday, October 02, 2004

Blowin' in the Wind


Wednesday afternoon I went to have copies made of my manuscript and do other assorted errands, the bank, lunch, etc. A nice, low key day. The next morning, before heading off to class, I went to get the copies out of my backpack so I could mail them. Except the bag is missing. Vanished. Poof. No copies. Which was annoying. I knew I could print them out again in the department but I was out twenty bucks now. Fast forward to today. I walk down to the theater to catch Hero (pretty good) and what do I see blowing around? A sheet of paper. My poem "Needless Invocation." Well, here are the missing copies. Or here they were. Scattered over several blocks I found maybe 20-30 sheets, in parking lots, against fences, under a car's tire. I had four copies made, which would have been right at 300 pages total. So who knows where the rest got off to? I can't decide why I felt a little sad about seeing them blow around like the wrapper of a Whopper. Evidently, the girl had done a poor job of sticking the copies in the backpack that hangs from the back of my chair and they spilled out.


Kelli Agodon often does gratitude journals on her blog, which I think is healthy, and leads me into my last word on jealousy.

I wrote about someone's jealousy of me but didn't touch upon whether or when I feel jealousy. Sure, I feel the occasional flicker, usually when Eliot's written some corker of a new poem, but I can honestly say I've never truly felt a negative amount of envy. And, sure, that might be easy for me to say when my book was accepted the first time I sent it out, when I've had a lot of success in publishing my poems.

And that's the thing: I've been more successful than I ever dreamed I might be. I was 27, nearly 28, when Herb Scott called me to say they wanted my book. I can't imagine begrudging someone else some bit of good fortune when I'm living this blessed life.

That summer morning when Eliot called to tell me he'd just won the Cleveland State Press prize was far more meaningul, exciting than the day I got my call. We all went out that night and it was just great.

That I'm able to write poems that please me, sometimes, and that others seemingly want to read, that's not a bad life at all.

I'm grateful for it and for you all.


Wendy Wisner said...


You're a gem. A real sweetheart. We're grateful for you too.


Victoria Chang said...

Paul, you are too cute, too fun! That story of your poems blowing in the wind was truly heartwarming...they are out there in the world now, but I guess not in a way that you had planned.

shanna said...

ah, sorry you lost your copies, but it IS nice to think of your poems blowing around like that free. people will pick them up, and read them. how could they not? it's brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Only one thing worse than blowing copies - losing some 25,000 words on a pc. Oh, well...

I wrote about you and jealously on Josh's live journal if you want to see it. Of course, the poor loser in your college days was jealous of your work - not of any special treatment.

Like your new blog, like our poems, like you...