Taking Stock: Publication and Generosity

In typical end-of-the-year fashion, I am thinking about the surprises and blessings that came my way during 2011. Many of them were unexpected gifts, and the more I live and write, the more I realize that the best things arrive out of the blue. For me, this has been (surprisingly!) the best publishing year I have ever had, which has me thinking about the generosity of publication. Editors do a writer great kindness by publishing his or her work, and the editors that gave my work an audience deserve some praise for the important job they do. Their kindness has encouraged me to keep writing, and hopefully, dear reader, you might consider supporting some of these fine publications.

In late 2010, I received word that three of my poems would appear in the alumni issue of Moon City Review 2011. I worked for this publication as a graduate student at Missouri State University and watched it grow from an in-house publication to a nationally distributed annual. There is great pleasure in having people you once you studied with support your new work; it is similar to the feeling you get as child when you show your parents a drawing you've made and they hang it on the fridge. Volume Editor Marcus Cafagna, Book Series Editor Lanette Cadle, and Faculty Reader Jane Hoogestraat are all wonderful poets in their own rights. They were important mentors for me when I was a student, and their continued support of my work is remarkable. Plus, their publication of my peers has allowed me to check in on some of the people I studied with to see the wonderful work they are doing. Moon City Review 2011 is a compelling publication.

My biggest surprise this year came in the acceptance of ten of my poems for Issue Four of Assaracus, published by Bryan Borland of Sibling Rivalry Press. Borland may be the kindest and most engaged editor I have ever worked with. His support of my work came at a time when I was doubting the value of my poems. For him to not only publish my poems, but to also welcome me into the press family and invite me to participate in a reading has been wonderful. Borland has created a unique and important space for queer writers with Assaracus and Sibling Rivalry Press. It is an honor to be in such good company.

I also owe a great amount of thanks to my friend, Melanie, of Reclusive Bibliophile, for inviting me to review YA novels for her blog. What started as a little experiment in reading and writing has turned into a pleasure; I enjoy discussing and promoting novels that explore the LGBTQ community. Without Melanie's urging, I would have never taken on this task. Nor would I have the pleasure to review books for Lambda Literary, which just published my first piece, a review Steve Brezenoff's Brooklyn, Burning. I have enjoyed participating in the discussion of books about queer characters, and I hope my reviews encourage readers to seek out, enjoy, and think about some inspiring pieces of writing.

Many people decry publication as a reinforcement of vanity (see: Emily Dickinson acolytes). However, I see publication (as well as blogging and book reviewing) as a way to create a network of support for writers you appreciate. 2011 has been a year in which I realized the rare pleasure it is to be published at all. So to all the editors and publishers who have supported my work this year (and in the past!): thank you; your generosity has meant the world to me.

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