Friday, August 16, 2013

Guest Post: Author Arleen Pare

Next year I will have a third book.  This is a minor miracle.  I have come to believe that the process of making books, who gets a manuscript published, how a book comes into the world with my name on it, for instance, is a mysterious thing.  Each of my books has been a surprise.  Not that I didn’t write them or that I don’t take responsibility for them, but every time the process has felt precarious, unpredictable.  I am grateful each time, but I don’t understand anything more now than I did when I first started submitting manuscripts for publication. 

This may be that I have come to writing late in life.  For most of my salaried work life, I worked as a social worker.  I understood the field of social work, how an individual would apply for a job and be hired -- or not.  I understood job descriptions and how jobs were managed, how decisions were made.  I respected the levels of work, the chains of responsibility.  But a career in creative writing is different, more, in fact, unwritten, without clear job descriptions or hiring processes, more shrouded, obscured.  

My third book will be a book of poetry, themed, about a lake I knew when I was a child, the Lake of Two Mountains, which will be its title, and it will be published by Brick Books.  I am thrilled, over the moon.  I feel like I’ve won the lottery.  It is the third minor miracle.  And I have a fourth manuscript that I am editing right now.  I will send it to various publishers when I think it’s ready to be sent out, but I will still find the process confusing.  I will still feel like I’ve entered a lottery contest.  If I win, I will be delighted.   Of course.  If I don’t, I will keep sending the manuscript to more and different presses, hoping each time to have the winning ticket.  But how will I know when I have finally and for sure - not won?