It has been exactly one year since I released my second poetry collection, EARTH IS FULL; GO BACK HOME. When I woke up this morning, I hadn't even marked the day. It's only by chance, going in to altar some details of the book's listing, that I realized the anniversary.
Forgetting the day has nothing to do with how much I love this collection, and everything to do with the world around me when it was released. The release day was set months in advance, but happened to fall at the beginning of a global pandemic that we are still fighting against. Lulu Press, my print-on-demand publisher, overhauled their site in a huge mass update that failed spectacularly, took down their support phone lines, printed incorrect versions of the book, and stole money from hundreds of their authors. I lost my job and had to find a new one, which left me drained and emotionally exhausted. I had no energy left to promote what I had once anticipated being a brilliant collection - a release that would showcase my growth as a poet and hopefully, my skill with words.
I don't mean to gripe. Everyone has had disappointments and hardships, and the mishaps surrounding the release of this book were nothing in comparison to so many other life events that hit me over the head this year. What I mean to say is that, on this anniversary, which is important for a reason much larger than my book release and is why I set this date aside in the first place, I am grateful that I have survived. I am grateful that I am still here, still writing. I am grateful for what I have learned, mournful for what I have lost, but determined to move forward as best I can. I'm grateful for the people that have undertaken this strange journey with me, grateful that they continue to support me, grateful that I can look at myself on the brink of 22 and say that I have successfully published two books.
I'm not done with EARTH IS FULL, nor will I ever be done writing. I'm currently working on a manuscript for a novella, and I'm so tantalizingly close to finishing the second draft. I have more poetry on the horizon, and recently, I also published a chapbook of midwestern gothic inspired works through Sword & Kettle Press's Cup & Dagger series. I work a job that I love, get to spend time working with presses that I enjoy, just started running a booth at the farmer's market, and will celebrate four years with my partner this June. I am tired and full of stress, but I am nowhere near giving up, continuously reminding myself to be grateful for what I have, proud of what I've done, and determined to move forward and do better.
As always, if you are still here, thank you. If you've been on this journey from the beginning, or if you've just tagged along for the ride, I am grateful for you too. I hope I can continue to do what I love and share it with people who love it just as much.
If you'd like to pick up your own copy of EARTH IS FULL; GO BACK HOME, they are available in my Etsy shop, both as the individual book and as a bundle with some extra art pieces by yours truly. You can also find my first book, Exit Wounds, in the shop. bury me in iron and ivy: a midwestern gothic, relayed in pieces can be found in the Cup & Dagger shop, and my collective portfolio and online presence can be found at here.