May 28, 2008

My First Taste of Publication

Many people who become writers were encouraged to write at a young age, usually by teachers who thought they had potential. Growing up, not one of my teachers ever said to me, “Wow, you’re really good at writing! You should think about being a writer.” I suppose my teachers couldn’t see past my pitiful spelling and horrible handwriting to see my potential as a writer.

The first time I received the recognition I deserved was in fourth grade when I had a poem published in the school newsletter. My first published poem went like this: 

I have a sister named Pat.
She is very fat.
She ate a pig.
And did a jig.
And that’s the end of that.

Small wonder I never got much praise for my writing when I was young.

That first published poem not only brought me recognition at my school, it brought my quite-slim sister a ton of teasing from her fifth-grade classmates. As the underdog sibling at the time, it was slightly satisfying that my sister was suffering for the sake of my art. Of course I hadn’t originally intended to write the poem as a means of getting even with her—that was sort of a fringe benefit. I only wrote the poem because I was under a great deal of pressure from my fourth-grade teacher to produce something that sounded remotely like a poem when we were learning about poetry. That little verse happened to be the first rhyming thing that popped into my head. I had no idea the teacher was planning to submit all the poems the class wrote to the school paper.

Fast forward to high school. I wrote lots of poems and never showed anyone any of them, until my junior year when I decided to submit a bunch of my poems for publication in the school literary magazine. Sadly, none of them got in. That was major rejection at a vulnerable age, and it took me several more years before I attempted to get my poems published again. Luckily, I’m over that high school rejection that surely was the result of not being friends with anyone on the literary magazine staff (at least that’s what my teenage self convinced me). I don’t remember what poems I submitted, but surely if any of them were in the style of the Fat Pat poem and they DID get published for the whole school to see, I might still not be over it.

Moral of story: rejected writing hurts for a bit, but bad writing that gets published can live on forever (as my sister will tell you).


iluvfftoys said...

Great Poem:-).

ellie said...

fun poem..

great post to read.

Sue said...

After all that rejection you still are writing. I would have quit.