Guest Reader, K. Thomas Slesarik today

WOZA WOZA POEM UPDATE: Sorry I fell behind on posting new lines to our poem. This is our 11th day so here are the first ten lines. If you notice, I’ve done a bit of revising to smooth out a line or two and I’ve also added a line that was inspired by Cory Corrado. So far we have Cory, Mary Nida, and Sandy Asher to thank for the poem’s progress. We’ve gone from swirling leaves to elves who claim Woza Woza as their ancestral home. What comes next is up to us. We can leave the elves to their merry making and continue our stroll through the forest, or not. We could use more help!

Today I witnessed something I’d never seen before —
A sea of cinnamon swirls surfed the forest floor.
The reason for the swirling suddenly dawned on me —
Tiny brown-clad creatures surfed that cinnamon sea!

Tiny brown-clad creatures wearing leather hats
Trimmed with golden feathers! Can you imagine that?
They danced in whirling circles, singing to themselves.
I blinked my eyes in wonder, these tiny folk were elves!

They sang of distant places, they sang of sea and foam,
They sang of Woza Woza where elves return to home.

Hello everyone,

I was happy to hear again from K. Thomas (Ken) Slearik and to read his report from a recent conference and encouter with an agent. Thanks to Ken for sharing his experience and giving me this chance to share it with you. Somehow we have to keep faith in ourselves and our futures as writers. Somehow. No matter what. Ken speaks beautifully to this issue.

Luck of the Draw

By K. Thomas Slesarik

Last month I attended a regional writer’s conference and had a pre-conference critique with a well known literary agent. I was particularly enthusiastic because “my agent” just so happened to represent a few children’s poetry authors. I usually approach these situations with a realistic, yet optimistic bent, but this particular encounter I stood taller than usual and with calm assertiveness. I just knew I would soon be welcomed into the fold and decided not to play hardball when she offered representation, instead I would just sign the formalities and my journey would begin.

I entered the room and immediately knew I was on the wrong movie set as I could not seem to locate her. After some searching I found her and we exchanged pleasantries and delved into my critique. The critique itself went very well. It was her comments about the poetry market that threw me for a loop.
“Ken you will be wasting years of your life waiting to be discovered by the four houses that will even accept poetry. You need to do mid grade or even picture books. What else ya got for me?” My answer was “Well nothing. I’m a poet”. She spoke for a few more moments about how incredibly difficult it is to break in as a children’s poetry author and that being talented is not enough. You also have to be very lucky.

Throughout the rest of the conference her words kept playing in my head. I pride myself in being resourceful, so I sat deep in thought, almost ignoring the speakers in the break out sessions as I kept wondering how I could beat the odds and create my own luck. Perhaps I could attend the big New York conference and during the keynote presentation light my lower torso on fire? Surely some publishing house could use the tax write off and sign me if only to help pay for the skin graphs? How much is kerosene anyway? Or maybe I need to start taking acting lessons and win an academy award first to catch the attention of an agent or publishing house? That would increase my luck!

By the end of the conference I was still deep in thought. While they were wrapping things up and giving away cups, pens and these plants by drawing names, I was thinking about just how far I’ve come as a writer and the complete joy I have when I write something truly unique and then I heard my name called. Thinking I won a plant I was confused at why people were clapping so enthusiastically for my plant and not so much for the previous plants. Relax people, I don’t have a green thumb. It’ll die in a week. It turns out my name was picked, but not for a soon to perish plant. I just happened to be the grand prize winner and won free registration to the next conference! It took a few days, but I came to the realization that I was indeed very lucky and it’s for that reason that I keep pressing on.