The serious side

Further down the page of Canto 26, in Dante’s Inferno, is a serous side to the epic poem. The key word is ‘grieved’ on Dante seeing the lost souls:

It grieved me then, it grieves me now once more,

to fix my thoughts on what I witnessed there.

 

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On!

Inspiration:

‘Whoever, fameless, wastes his life away,

Leaves of himself no greater mark on earth

Than smoke in air or froth upon the wave.

So, upwards! On! And vanquish labored breath!

In any battle mind power will prevail,

Unless the weight of body loads it down.

There’s yet a longer ladder you must scale.

You can’t just turn and leave all these behind.

You understand? Well, make my words avail.’

[Inferno, Dante Alighieri, Canto 24:49-57, translated by Robin Kirkpatrick, Penguin Classics]

“Decurion”

While I took a break from a rather tedious writing project that has a deadline none too soon, I read a few pages of the epic poem Inferno and saw the word, “Decurion”. I couldn’t find a definition for it, except on google. It’s an interesting word, but the definition is rather dull. However, a educational excursion.

Week in

This week: The beginning of the week started with a rejection slip. Enough said, but it started the week with a bang. Then, it got quiet because I’m in a phase of writing that is quietly pondering. So while I blog a film review, a poem here or there, other things are on my radar that I’m silently working on slowly but surely. The quiet voice of the “muse” as they call inspiration stirs in the sounds of silence.

The last word on it

Yesterday I wanted to try something different. I mean, in terms of submitting to a publisher who has accepted two but also rejected quite a few other submissions of mine. Trying something different was my Plan B.

This Plan B, which I will not explain in detail, may work—if I don’t base my submissions on harder passages to understand in the Bible. But I recalled today that the publisher wanted submissions based on the harder passages. Only those passages. So Plan B goes out the window.

Don’t mind, because there is more to life, but last rejection would be the last from them. This means I write nothing more for this publisher.

Quite simply, the negative outcome seems likely if submitting more, going by past record. Why go on the merry go round of rejection slips with the same publisher? There is a time to stop what one is doing once it is pointless.

This is the end of submitting to this publisher. Sad, but inevitable. I hate break-ups, but they did give thirty-odd reasons to (read: rejection slips).

The final one

Today I received a form rejection letter by email. It was about the thirtieth rejection from the same publisher, but three years ago they published two devotions of mine. Naturally, one thinks, that they will publish more of yours again, and again. So I kept on submitting. The pieces were short and sweet, but to no avail. The lesson is simple: it’s not easy to get your foot in the door and once your in, it may be hard to keep on repeating that initial success.

The initial success was really luster. It was inspired writing. I tried a bit harder next time to repeat the acceptances of my work. Didn’t work. Lesson: don’t try so hard. But if I didn’t put grist to the mill I wouldn’t have material.

After all these rejections, would the initial acceptances be enough for me? If not, is there a different way of doing it?

There is a different way of doing something. I was going to say that today’s rejection from this publisher would be the final one. Whatever their reasons for rejecting my work, my first two acceptances was all I was supposed to do, thirty rejections later. But plan B is to try it another way.

Inferno

I’ve been reading the first part of Dante’s Comedy, the Inferno, which was written in the medieval time. I’m getting into the part when the comedy kicks in, about half way through. According to the commentary in this translation, a Penguin classic, the half-way point is when the comedy kicks in.

I have noticed it gets funnier as it goes on, as I paid close attention. The comedy is caustic, biting, perhaps what we would call today as sarky. It’s bold humor and today stands ahead of the pack. But like all good comedy it has a point.

I look forward to how Dante progresses on his journey through hell, and into purgatory and heaven, and how the theme ‘adjusts’ in the next stage of his journey.

At the moment, Inferno is one of my favorite things.

The print media

The printing press is struggling so it seems. This affects every freelancer who ever was and every will be. It’s harder to get your work in print now than it used to be. Your work has to be tailored made, specific, and top notch. It is all geared towards what the newspaper requires, for their audience, but even more tailored made then before, because there is more competition. So a freelancer had better be on top of it if they are to get into print.

I was reminded of what seems to be a smaller media now–this being the print media, as they are competing with digital–when a postcard arrived in the post.

The postcard in my letter box, “To the householder”, had a promotional code. I could get a free four week trial of the newspaper if I entered the code on their website. Then they would discuss with me whether I wanted a subscription–which I would have to pay for.

It sounds desperate, but I kind of got it. The printing press is finding ways to hook people into their print products, in a digital age. They must find ways to compete or be obsolete in the foreseeable future. I understand.

It all starts with something free. Then you’ll have to pay at a discount. And later on you’ll pay the full price and they hope you will stay with them through the long haul.

People so often get their news from the internet, but if you are one of the ones who would take up their offer, what would persuade you?

The free trial may. But that’s only for four weeks, then it’s over. Not much of an incentive over the long haul. But if the newspaper is free for twelve months then that would be different, a real deal. Someone may take up that offer. However, what newspaper can afford it? They are trying to compete in the digital marketplace, not drown themselves.

If you seriously considered taking up their offer, then you would take up the free trial to assess the product. Is it good? Is it worthwhile? More importantly, do you need it? This last question is pivotal, because there are so many competitors out there. What are your media needs?

You have to decide if this product fills your media news needs. This is the risk the newspaper takes. They already have an internet presence, but they want you to buy their newspaper which has been around longer. If they lose sales, they will have to think about another model–using the internet and go completely website based.

Then they are competing with other media outlets on the internet while the survivors in the print media battle it out between themselves. It’s a vicious cycle.

In today’s print media world, some will die, and a few will survive. The product that the newspaper is offering had better be bigger and better in order to stay afloat, but there are ways of delivering a media product for cheaper overheads. But that may not be bigger and better. It’s a dog eat dog newspaper world out there.

I’m not going to take up the free trial. Then, I’ll be in their system. They don’t let go easily. But if a writer would research the market by taking up the trial, to submit their work, they’d be competing with writers already there and they are competing with each other. Why die striving?

Onto the next thing…

The testimonial project that almost made it

Despite the rejections (aw shucks) of the fiction and poetry, I must love blogging and have a hunger for projects of writing.

A project I have gone headlong into means I am approaching the appropriate personnel–to see if they know of any stories about their people.

These stories are what’s called “testimonies”. In other words, what’s happening with you, and why.

One wanted the minutest detail about me first, probably to see who I really am, and if I am who I say I am.

Unfortunately, none of my “personnel” got back to me with offers of people willing to tell me their story–which I would have submitted to editors who are actually interested in seeing my work.

Considering, there are editors who turn the page of my work with a disdainful eye (I jest; it’s not disdainful, it’s probably indifferent or courteously sorry they couldn’t publish it), the  editors who are interested, don’t get to see it. The irony is painful, but bearable.