Today my friend Jayne Benjulian sent me an email with a link to Poetry Daily. This online poetry anthology features a daily poem chosen from work published in various journals, furthering a poem's audience while at the same time offering support to literary journals. Today’s featured poem was one of Jayne’s that will appear in Spillway Poetry Magazine's upcoming issue. How wonderful it is to see Jayne's work honored. Reading her beautiful poem made me think about how we can never predict the connections we may set in motion.
Then while emailing a new internet literary friend, I found myself pondering about such connections in my own life. In May I wrote a post that four of my poems had appeared in When Women Waken. Now editor Anora McGaha has helped further our association by kindly including a link to my chapbook on the When Women Waken website. (While you're there, consider buying a copy of my book as well one of their journal issues.)
I think sometimes it helps to stop to appreciate our if-then stories. Of course being the teacher that I am, this made me remember one of my favorite children's books, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond. If you haven't read it, you should. It is a delightful story about the effects of our small actions.
All of this made me look back on one of my biggest if-then stories. If I hadn't found Big Table Publishing while trolling the internet for possible journals in which to place my poetry, I never would have gotten my chapbook In the Poem an Ocean published. For that I have to offer a big thank-you to their Acquisition Editor, Robin Stratton. She is another online friend whom I have never met, having conducted our lively conversations about my book entirely via email. Now my book is included on Big Table's best seller list.
If I hadn't published that chapbook, I would never have had the courage to look for writing events to attend. If I hadn't done that, I never would have found A Room of Her Own Foundation. If that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to attend their wonderful retreat for women writers at Ghost Ranch in 2011.
If weren't for that, I never would have met an inspiring group of women writers, including Jayne. At that same retreat, I also met Ruth Thompson. If I hadn't met her, I wouldn't know about her small press, Saddle Road Press, which she runs with her partner and fellow writer, Don Mitchell.
Then I wouldn't be able to announce that this summer Ruth agreed to publish my next book. So now, thanks to her, I'm on my next journey of writing and revising a new manuscript of poems. Just figuring out which poems to include is a marathon if-then in itself.