Reading Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, I realized something somewhat obvious about this literary business I am engaged in:
One of the main reasons especially beginner poets love getting published is selfish. The ego (the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought) transfers the approval implied by an acceptance from the work to the poet. This transference is sleight of hand. A one for one correspondence between an arrangement of words that is static, albeit open to interpretation, and a dynamic human something is absurd. The poet is capable of infinite arrangements. How could one represent her?
This is an ego trip. Ego is a drug.
We are always playing magic tricks on ourselves because we cannot stop and be still and breathe. Suzuki’s point is that you are human there in that still breathing place. That’s home. But plant your flag out there in the world and your life is forfeit. You have gone astray.
Submit, submit, submit. Then relax and let it be. Build your manuscript. It’s a fun thing to do. No one has to publish it.