Looking to Next Year

Strange how time moves. I could have sworn I started writing “Pepkin’s Travels” last February. Then I see this post which says, no, I reached the 200th entry last January, meaning I started two years ago. 2021 was an annus mirabilis for me. 2022 has been an anti-climax. I still did plenty of work: revised “Dying for Gilda,” published my translation of How To Make Verse by Vladimir Mayakovsky, started first draft of my new novel in October which is now 50% finished, and wrote 24 new Pepkins plus assorted poems.

But a lot of work has stalled. The new novel would honestly be done now if I weren’t so conflicted by many aspects of it. My versification of Caesar’s Commentaries on the Civil War has bogged down, and it is only one section of “Roman Numerals,” only 2/5s completed. “Humorism” also stalled. “Animals Nobody Loves” has sat half-finished for several years now. Jumping right into another novel has kept me from writing any new short stories. And I have stopped all submissions of any kind because they mess with my head, making me too angry to create.

I have yet to send out any selections from Travels (except a couple to AJP for their last issue), let alone the full manuscript for publication, because I have been hung up on two additional poems for it: “Pepkin Hears the Sounds of American Coming in His Window” and “Acts, 9 variations on Rimbaud’s Scenes.” One year for 200 poems, another year for two poems, still unfinished. Time moves strangely.

All I can think to do is keep working. I have never figured out what it means exactly to “work smarter.” I have never figured out the tricks of the trade or the path to success. Those kinds of clever strategies don’t seem to be in my toolbox. For me, eyes down to the slog is the only way to work. I can’t see the tree for the bark. But I am going to try to keep a better record of what I am doing in the year ahead. For no other reason maybe than to not think only one year has gone by when in reality two have.

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