Goodbye Hope: a Monody Haībun

Last night in my email, was another writer’s bane, the let-you-down-gently words that sink in like thorns. I didn’t have high hopes, how can one in my place?  I have time for writing, time for dreams, time for children-rearing, but no time for marketing.

Another so kind rejection in the mail.
How can I go on when to go on is to fail?
It’s nicely worded, not harsh at all,
And yet, it’s kind words hurt like an icy fall.
Why do I need for my words to be heard?
Why not chirp quietly on a branch like a bird?
Oh, hope, so fragile, so easily flown away,
Will you come back soon, stay for another day?

Why do any of us write? We have words inside us, needing to come out. It’s that simple. When my boys hit age three, they had to run. They ran and ran, circling me like dolphins around a boat, chirping and loving, laughing and falling. They ran because they had to, and I did not stop them. I tried to keep them safe.

Can I parent myself, the young writer? How would I do that? I know I need to write, and so I will. I will let myself write, and as I send my words into the world, I will try to keep myself safe.

Not everyone has to like what I wrote. I write for my own reasons, and I share magic and joy where I can. Even if only one person is touched, has a better day, feels the magic, then that’s enough. My work is enough. My words are enough. I will keep sending my words into the world.

As for my kind rejecter, I will smile, and I will remember that that person’s day is too long, too busy, too full to take on my words. That’s okay. She has a busy life, too, and only so many hours in it.

sycamore grows in summer
its roots leave words in the soil
the leaves read the shining sun

IMG_7429

Note: A Monody is a lament, a dirge or an elegy for someone or something departed. A Haibun is prose, culminating in poetry, with its heart beating in the natural world. This was partly inspired by a series of recent rejections, by the weekly poetry prompt by painttheworldwithwords to write a monody and by the weekly Haībun Thinking prompt, with a freestyling example by Al.

References:
http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/monody.html
http://painttheworldwithwords.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/poetic-form-of-the-week-monody/

100 thoughts on “Goodbye Hope: a Monody Haībun

  1. Pingback: “The Be Inspired” Weekly Writing Challenge #16 | Paint the world with words
  2. Ah, Brenda, the heartache of literary rejection! Don’t worry, love, just keep plugging away. Look how many people love your blog work. It’s just a matter of time. By the way, are you looking at local resources and opportunities first? Open mics, poetry journals, writing groups in your area. These are really important in gaining a foothold sometimes. Hang in there.

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  3. Hello, I have been there! I got tired of their games so I decided to self-published. I can tell from your poetry you are a fantastic writer. Don’t let them get you down. Grow from their rejections and listen if they give you advice. But as others have said, keep trying! It’s like getting a job or winning the lottery: getting an agent is a numbers game! One of them will be smart and say yes ❤

    Thanks for your support on Life, Muse Coffee – lovely to be connected!

    Hope this week brings better news!

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    • Thanks! I will be content to recover from stomach flu and feel well. Good news would be icing. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by. I like your blog, too. Cheers, Brenda

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  4. dear Brenda, Keep writing…keep dreaming…do NOT give up…the right person/company will find you! and your beautiful writing! Perhaps you know the story of J K Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter series–she was rejected by scores of publishers…until Scholastic Company gave her a read…and needless to say, they were surely happy they did! Onward and forward! Blessings to you! and thank you for your frequent visits to my blog!

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    • Thank you! I need the good news, because I just got a very harsh critique from a beta reader. I hope to find the right publisher for my book one day! Hugs, Brenda

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      • Yes, in fact! It has been years but I used to compose poetry alot…So Haibun is an intermingling of prose with interludes of poetry? Is there a specific metric form for the poetic segments?

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        • Most I’ve seen use haiku in the haibun, at least for the last poem. I have seen some use Tanka or another form in the transitional poems.

          The rules for the haiku vary a bit, poet to poet, but I have settled into these: no title, simple language, no capitalization or punctuation except for a comma perhaps, to put in a stopping point, and a maximum of 17 syllables. I don’t keep strictly to the 5/7/5 syllable count anymore. The stopping point is a difficult thing to master, I wrestle with it, but it is part of the traditional form. The goal is to have an ah-ha moment and to imply more than is said to leave room for the reader to be included. I rarely manage to follow every rule. Rather, I aspire to achieve as many as I can while still loving the process.

          I’ll look forward to see yours.

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  5. This was a fantastic combination of a serious post with the wondrous ‘redemption’ in your tree seeking the sun! I like the way it started with a simple rejection letter in the mail and circled back to the ‘real you, true artist and poet,’ who doesn’t let things get her down! Smiles, Robin

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  6. Brenda to me being any type of artist is like ‘putting self out there naked’ ~ some days I can handle it ~ other days ~ I just ‘take a break’ and breathe ~ Your passion will get you through not to mention you write very well ~ life all takes time and most days ~ ‘A day at a time’ ~ xxx

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    • Thanks, yes, I often feel naked right before I hit publish and sometimes after, too. LOL But the human form is beautiful and we all have more in common than differences. Naked is really about shame, isn’t it? We should not feel shame for having voices and using them as long as we aren’t hurting others. And we cannot let others tell us not to use our voices. We should not give anyone that right. I have never thought about this before. Thanks!! Hugs, Brenda

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  7. I know it may sound trite, but rejections really do help. When I first started my crazy journey through becoming a writer I had a finished novel, but not a clue. I’d never heard of a pitch and I thought it was amazing that I even attempted to finish a whole book. Sadly, it was barely a book at 24,000 words and meant for some demographic of which I was vaguely aware. Now that first “book” has blossomed into 70,000 words and much more depth. It never would have happened without rejections. They hurt, but they give birth to new and better ideas. I’m now working on my third novel and while I still get rejections, I love the ideas they bring. Good luck with your journey.

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  8. Brilliant Brenda! Your post was indeed touching & heart-felt. It is more painful to take a rejection. I liked how you incorporated a Haibun with a Monody and it came out very well. Must say, a clean write with so much of imagery. The picture added so much to the read. It is very refreshing and gives out a positive thought.

    Thanks for your participation dear! Keep in touch!
    Regards,
    Amreen

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  9. We both know that one day you will get the other kind of letter. Persevere my dear. I know how you feel being a tiny cork bobbing along in an immense sea. One day, perhaps soon, we will float to the top of the waves. Cackie

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  10. Lovely haiku and haibun Brenda. Rejection is tough, but if you are wanting to make it in the written world it seems part of the game. Your own determination will carry you on, believe what you writing is of great merit, you will get there.

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  11. Brenda, i feel your pain, I only write for me and my granddaughter, and she doesn’t reject anything. I find much of what you write to be quite beautiful and have found an appreciation. Thank you, Bill

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  12. I should have remembered that you’ve been trying to get traditionally published in addition to the blogging. Rejections happen, including the now insanely-famous types like JK Rowling. She wrote some kind of children’s / young adult fantasy fiction or other.
    I was published some 20 years ago, but I think it’s because I lucked out on a “hot” genre at the time, which Otto the Bus Driver summed up well: “books written from the vampire’s point of view.” But yes, there were rejections, one of them over the phone, and man… to this day I don’t know how I survived that verbal thrashing. Maybe the manuscript hunted and killed all her pets or something.
    Keep at it, and while somebody else pointed out the disadvantages of e-publishing, you could look into it. If – okay, I’ll be more positive – WHEN you find a traditional publisher, the following MAY still hold true:
    –You’ll be edited (something I now can’t stand for my stuff)
    –The publisher/editor will title the book
    –The publisher/editor will pick any cover illustrations

    …unless things have changed??

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  13. I am just a teeny bit glad your work was rejected because it was to our benefit. (Being very selfish!) The rejection brought forth a beautiful monody and haibun, with the most gorgeous photo and haiku. Do you ever write back, say with a card made with your beautiful haiku image plus haiku and blog link….don’t know if that works to your advantage, but you never know what might capture a publisher’s attention. Perhaps it’s been a dreadful day for the publisher and the image is just what is needed…..and he/she will remember you when they are looking for a middle grade book to publish.

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    • Thanks, my friend, as my hubby points out, perhaps the market will not be interested, but I continue to hope. Continue to work and continue to write. At least until my youngest is in first grade. 🙂 Meanwhile, I treasure the friends I’ve made on WP. How remarkably supportive you’ve all been!! Thanks, Brenda

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  14. You have expressed this disappointment in beautifully tangible terms – well done.

    “Flops are a part of life’s menu and I’ve never been a girl to miss out on any of the courses” – Rosalind Russell

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      • I knew that 😉 I also wanted to say that right now you are writing and you have an audience. Don’t put expectations upon how it should look or where it should go. That way you will continue to write for all the right reasons. Namely because you love to do so and because your heart nudges you along this path and your soul finds genuine expression. I love what you write.

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        • Thanks, Paul. Sooner or later, my kids are going to college, I hope, and it is so expensive. Eventually, I will have to translate writing into income as I had done before the kids came. I believe that people will like my stories, and I will continue on as long as I can. 🙂 Hugs, Brenda

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  15. I love that poem; it’s sweet and short. And it’s great that you’ve come to terms with your words being enough. I come across people who write for fame or money, and it saddens me. The best kind of writing happens when the writer is doing it for themselves and enjoying it. =]

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    • I agree, although money needs to be a factor at some point, thus the efforts to publish traditionally. Still, I will try to continue with my voice. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by. Warmly, Brenda

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  16. What did you submit? Poetry? Stories? A story? (I’m going to leave it at that because everyone up ^ there said all the comforting and encouraging things. Not that I couldn’t add to it, but it seems you’re at a stage where strategy might be way more useful.)

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    • I have a completed, many-times edited middle grade fantasy novel set in New England. The main character is a barn swallow, who wants to fly faster than his friend, a chimney swift. The story follows his adventures, and his friends, including some human neighbors.

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  17. It is odd how a complete stranger we’ve never met and never will, sending us words of rejection of our own word creations can feel quite painful? It really shouldn’t! But which bit of the brain do we have to tweak, to switch off the hurt?! I’ve not had that experience in recent years, but I did start early sending my poetry off to publishers at age sixteen. And of course the pile of rejection letters hand typed on ultra thick (often cream coloured) expensive intimidating paper, arrived on the door mat every time! 😐 My mother did warn me – at least I was prepared! But actually, they were right to reject them – they were terrible!! 😦

    Not sure how it would effect me now. I might just give up and self publish. How things have changed! 🙂

    I’ve been following a WordPress blog by a literary agency recently, and they gave some very useful information and advice on why agents can often reject manuscripts. Sometimes it can be as simple as predictability in the first paragraph. Something they’ve read many times before. They have so much to get through, anything predictable, despite being written well, can be enough to turn them right off reading any further than the first page. The rejection letter may be purely based on that alone and not how the other chapters read – because they didn’t even get that far! It’s worthwhile knowing how a literary agent thinks before sending off manuscripts. I can give you a link to the blog if you or anyone you know would like to read it?

    But in the meantime, having a blog is a great way to keep sending out those words! 😀

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    • She just told me that they are not handling middle grade fiction right now. They are primarily romance and YA publishers, but my friend advised me to try it out, and I did. They were very nice, and I don’t know if they even looked at my novel, they didn’t say. That is good to know about predictability, though. I’ll keep it in mind. I’m going to a writer’s conference in May, and the MS has been accepted for a critique. I expect I will hear about its issues there. Eek! LOL I’m working hard, meanwhile. And will keep doing so. Thanks for dropping by, Suzy. I have missed you. Warmly, Brenda

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      • It’s good to get a list of publishers who actually receive unsolicited manuscripts before you send your novel off, because the majority of publishers today won’t deal direct with the author, and they won’t always bother to tell you why they are returning your novel either. They will only look at manuscripts sent by the agents of the author, which means you may have to find yourself an agent, not a publisher. I know it doesn’t sound very appealing, but it’s the way it’s all going now – a bit like being an actor, an agent is required otherwise no-one will even consider you for work. The Writers And Artist Year Book is a useful tool for finding what publishers will receive manuscripts, although that may only be a British publication, I’m not sure. I always used to be dead against agents for years, but in Britain there’s only about two publishers left that will even look at a manuscript without an agent involved – so I no longer have a choice. And then it’s the concerning task of finding a ‘good’ agent, not all are good. Apologies if I’m telling you something you already know, but thought I’d mention it just in case you hadn’t heard about that. I hope you enjoy the writers conference, that will probably do you a lot of good, and maybe you might find some information there on where is best to send your novel.

        Aahh thank you Brenda – I missed you too, and it’s good to be back! 😀 But finding it a little difficult to return to the routine of reading everyone’s posts – it seem to be taking me ages to get round it all!

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        • Well, how is your novel going? The kind rejection was from an agent who isn’t doing middle grade stuff right now. I hope to get an agent, but I would also love to find a publisher who doesn’t require one. I will keep working on it. 🙂 Regards, Brenda

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  18. I love the fine sensitivity of the final haiku. Very beautifully written. As for your rejection – some important things to remember: mainstream hard copy publishing is in decline – publishers are only looking for things they know they can sell. i.e. versions of previous published books that have done well. Stories in popular genres like crime, thrillers and fantasy. Any thing else – they’re rarely interested.
    Also as Al says – many successful writers are rejected many, many times before they succeed.
    Like you I tend to crumble at the first rejection. I tried e-publishing and found the hype outweighed the reality. It’s a lot of work and, unless you are writing in a popular genre and are really good at marketing. the chances of success are limited.
    As another blogger said to me on this topic this week ‘cream will rise’. Keep writing, writing, writing and honing your craft. Your stuff is good. Keep on keeping on. 🙂

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    • Thanks, that is sweet, and I will hope to be cream. 🙂 And I will keep trying, as long as I can afford to! And I will keep on writing. I love it. Thanks for taking the time to lift my spirits. 🙂 Peace and Joy, Brenda

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    • I was wondering about e / self-publishing and how one might go about it. You’ve confirmed that it’s much like being an entrepreneur – write what “they” want, put in ALL your blood and sweat, or fail (and sometimes fail anyway).

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      • I haven’t self published yet, but others on WP have. I’m a firm believer in writing in your own voice rather than for hire. I just hope what I like to write is eventually able to reach kids. The ones who have read, really like them.

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  19. I feel your pain. And I know what rejection is. When i apply to different art fairs each year, I have received all kinds of rejection letters, and some are so awful, they have no kind words, they just say NO! I see you are sensitive like I am, and it hurts. But your words are magical and sincere. And they will find a home. Don’t lose your hope, and don’t lose your words.

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    • Thanks, I appreciate your words. I don’t know if I would have written about this if the prompt weren’t for a monody, and I didn’t want to write a lament for someone passed. Instead, I wanted to talk about things that pass, but come back, like hope. Don’t you find that your belief in yourself and your hope always return, no matter the words of another?

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    • Thanks, my lovely friend. Part of me is sad, but part of me is determined to keep going, and will pull the other part forward. I only published this because I think receiving rejections is part of being a writer.

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  20. I do like the way you have written this.

    An author I follow, Seyi David, she sent her books off to loads of different publishers, and had several rejections, but is now a best selling author. There is still hope

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  21. It’s one persons opinion. Means nothing. You are doing this for yourself and when we are touched by your words, it’s just frosting on the delicious cake. 🙂 Don’t sweat the small stuff my friend. And it’s all small stuff.

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    • Yes, you are right. The words definitely won’t hit me like a hammer. LOL I’m undentable. Thanks for your comforting words. They do mean a lot to me, despite my joking around. 🙂 Warmly, Brenda

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  22. Brenda, I too have dreams and I too have about zero time for marketing. Why is it so important for our words to be heard? My answer…. They reflect who we are and to be holding an actual book with paper and ink, in my hands that is mine, is a dream. Yet, I know the facts about this world.

    I encourage you not to get discouraged. Not to let the Mr. Give Up Creep any room in your life. Just follow your Heart. I just started following your work, and I think it is pretty amazing. As you are! (((HUGS))) Amy

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    • You are amazing, too! Maybe we will both be discovered one day!! LOL I would be amazed just to be freshly pressed. Much less published… and yet, I’m going to keep trying. And you do, too! You have a lot of beauty to add to the world.

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    • Yes, I have a database, where sent, what response. Then I can file it and move on. Your voice is worth hearing, my friend. 🙂 Keep up the good work! All the best people have a file of rejections. LOL

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    • LOL I like that! I was delighted to pick up a fairy tale middle grade novel in the bookstore, and it had that CS Lewis quote right in the front. Wonderful! Somewhere, there’s a place for me. Here, for instance. 🙂 Thanks for your support!

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      • A rejecting, cynical, overly critical attitude seems to me to simply have nothing at all to do with a valid perspective. How can we not embrace that which the Soul–as you rightly phrase it–breathes forth? Yes we can always constructively “improve” a creative expression according to form or structure…but first we can embrace and appreciate the form that emerges! Maybe it is new…something wholly original. What a gift!

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