Tomorrow (that is, Thursday), I’ll participate in a critique circle, part of the Hot Springs Arts in the Park week-long celebration of arts of all forms that flourish in this wonderful enclave. Tomorrow’s critique circle, led by the current host of Wednesday Night Poetry, Bud Kenny, is limited to eight participants, each of whom is asked to bring nine copies of a five-page-maximum piece of writing for critique.

Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have more than enough writing to produce a book of compilations of my work. I need to sort through it, group it in logical sections that relate to one another, and have someone edit it. I insist on hiring a good editor; though I’m not bad at editing, I’m not particularly good, either, especially of my own work. So an editor is required. Beyond that, I need to polish and, in some cases, finish, my stories. I’ll be interested in the feedback of strangers tomorrow when they review the piece I’ve selected for them to read.

As I envision it today, my compilation will consist of three utterly unrelated sections (which may be a mistake…I’ll look forward to feedback): short fiction, essay, and poetry. Though the styles between the three sections will, obviously, be different, I believe I can weave themes that connect the sections so that the entire compilation will make sense as a stand-alone work, but so that each component section could stand by itself, without the other two. We’ll see.

I have neither the interest nor the patience to ask that traditional publishers look at my work and determine whether it meets their criteria of demand and marketability. But I realize, too, that the market for a book as I envision it is apt to be severely limited. Okay, I won’t get rich, I won’t get recognized, and I won’t get much distribution; that’s fine with me, as my motives don’t mesh with those outcomes. I want to publish something that, someday, someone might happen upon and say, after reading it, “that guy had some interesting, thought-provoking, and even inspirational things to say.” I would like to think that, one day, someone will read what I’ve written and say I had both a way with words and ideas worth considering.

After my little critique circle (which follows a meeting, in the morning, of other writers who seek input and inspiration and instruction), I’ll visit published writers who are hawking their books in the Garland County Library. Then, my wife and her sister will join me as we spend a few hours at the Craft Beer Cellar, a new establishment in Hot Springs that’s participating in Arts in the Park by way of educating visitors on all matters beer. I love that! I will sample a few.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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