Parenting is sometimes a thankless task, full of endless, repetitive drudgery, diurnal concerns, and little by way of compensation or even positive feedback.
Writing, too, is frequently unrewarding. The amount of time a poet spends carefully crafting the perfect alliteration, the right balance of tones and images, the exact word for that feeling is simply not reciprocated. The world doesn't give back equally to the hard-working poet, particularly the poet who works, as one does, in isolation.
Jeff's two jobs these days are: 1. Stay-at-home parent; and 2. Poet. Stay-at-home poet? I guess that would be accurate, too. Because he's not in a grad program or an active writers' group, he doesn't get the regular feedback and assistance of a group of like-minded peers. He often relies on my (totally unqualified) eye to look over a poem before he sends it out, with hope and faith, to a journal. And my schedule means I rarely am able to offer him the kind of attentive reading he needs and his writing deserves.
The other form of feedback a writer usually receives is in the form of reponses from literary journals and publications to which work has been submitted. Journals get a lot of submissions, and accept a really, really low number of those submissions. So if you're an active writer who is sending stuff out, trying to get published, you're going to get alot of self-addressed stamped thin envelopes back.
This is all to say that today, Jeff got a fat envelope, with an acceptance to a well-regarded literary journal. And I'm so proud of him, and happy for him, and relieved, because a guy that works this hard at such a thankless task and has such talent that is usually only appreciated (and not appreciated enough, really) by me deserves a fat envelope every once in a while.
Congratulations, Jeff. And I suggest you all buy issue 23 of this journal in 2010!