Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Random Comments About Terror, American Childhood and Publishing

During World War II my young father was afraid of German paratroopers landing in his Indiana back yard. "Life was tough for nervous children during World War II," my father quips. The apple not falling too far from the tree, I remember the 1970s and 1980s as a time expecting the Big One to go off without warning, ripping the weather away from the sky in a great flash of megatons. The attitude of my teachers at the time was one of laughing dismissal, that such a thing could never happen. Why worry? And of course you can't just go worrying at all hours without losing your sanity, though you might develop an ice-cold sense of humor,--along with its peculiar insanities--in order to deal with the threat. Whatever my fears or humorous burial of them, I remember being mostly alone and feeling neurotic in their shadows.

The American child has for the most part been spared the actual terrors of war, as has the American adult. In their place we have put an act of imagination more or less indulged. The more nervous of American children, such as myself, have endeavored to make art out of this imagined terror. It is a luxury we can afford and that we somehow hope has a kind of value stacked next to the accounts of real survivors of physically present terror. Such an act of imagination informs my account of the Cuban Missile Crisis and other works.

This is an unusually fertile time for my writing, but I'm increasingly wary of publishing on the blog. At least one journal I've looked into will publish nothing that has appeared online anywhere in any form. So I hold out blogging in hopes of publishing elsewhere while I have little optimism of success. My rate of acceptance in journals was about one a year in my heyday using what methods I knew. Extrapolating, I could expect to publish about a score more poems in my life. Should I just go ahead and publish it all here given the stark probabilities?

It's almost a rhetorical question.