You know that story we tell ourselves? The one about our songs, poems, and books having an expiration date. While that may be true, when it comes to best sellers, I'm here to say it just doesn't hold, when it comes to impact. Sometimes the work needs to sit, before it finds the right market. Or it needs to be repackaged or rediscovered, to be positioned well for publication or to win a contest or an audience's attention.
Two weeks ago, my newest chapbook A Nation (Imagined) (winner of the 2018 Floating Bridge Chapbook Contest) successfully launched at Elliott Bay Book Company. All of the poems included were written around a decade ago and yet, it took that long for me to recognize that the central poem (18 pages), when coupled with 2 additional poems (written around the same time in a similar voice) was screaming to be a chapbook.
We don't often discuss the time and process it takes us to get our babies into the world. But maybe you, too, are working on something and you are so very close to having it reach the right market. Maybe all you need is just a little shift of perspective or a nudge to say, you might be around the corner from a great discovery. Or maybe the album you consider old is still making its rounds into people's song circles and daily commutes? And that, too, is a kind of success.
Today, I want to share the opening poem of A Nation (Imagined) with you. Thank you to Sara Kearns for first publishing "And what if everything" in Sirenlit. Big thanks to the editors of Pontoon and Floating Bridge for believing so strongly in my work, regardless of the date of origin.
Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a writer and a licensed naturopath in WA State. Enjoying this blog? Feel free to put a little coffee in Natasha's cup, right here.