A Lesson in Unprofessional Behavior: Weathering the Publication of “Monstering 101”
My poem “Monstering 101” is now available at the online literary mag Monstering. It’s linked to the site’s categories Ableism and Body Horror. Think about that for a minute then consider Monstering’s masthead: Disabled Women and Nonbinary People Celebrating Monsterhood.
Publishing this poem has been a process, and not one I necessarily care to repeat. Some people’s version of professional behavior and mine are far different. Excuses ran thin, and I seriously considered pulling the work because of it, but, in the end, I created the poem in response to Monstering’s call for submissions, so that is where it should stay.
That said, if you ever find yourself, as an editor, volunteer staff, or publisher, unable to complete a project, you should hand said project off in a timely fashion and not leave the contributor dangling from question marks in unanswered emails until your initial agreement cannot be successfully fulfilled.
It’s bad for business and leaves such a sour taste in your contributor’s mouth that she feels compelled to blog about the experience.
The poem didn’t appear in the first issue as agreed, and now its publication in the mag’s blog feels more like an afterthought than anything else. Furthermore, stating that the poem was from a “reader” is a severe downgrade from stating it was a submission for the first issue. It makes me look like some sort of fangirl, not a bad thing if it were true, but it’s not.
Wouldn’t want someone to admit to a mistake now, would we?
To be fair, being shoved aside, ignored, and then relabeled befits a poem concerning Monsterhood. Perhaps that was the intent all along, but I somehow doubt it. This is not to say that I don’t embrace the Monstering concept. I enjoyed the works I’ve read thus far. Maybe enjoyed is not the right word, but I certainly identify with many of the works on multiple levels.
They are voices screaming in the dark to other Monsters in hopes they hear, so they know that they, that we, are not alone.
What is Monsterhood? I believe Monstering explains this well with their mission statement available HERE.
Back to the poem itself. Yes, that’s my voice on the recording provided with the poem– no sassy cracks about the accent are allowed. I’m a proud Southern Appalachian woman, and, with that, comes a Southern Appalachian woman’s voice. It’s a unique accent, and one that I was once embarrassed by, but not anymore. If multiple college degrees didn’t knock the accent from me, nothing will.
And, in case you’ve started connecting the dots between this poem and my Surrogate novel series, there is a loose correlation between my Monster and Etain’s She-Beast. They are different, yet the same, born from the same body (mine) for opposite reasons. Both primal. Monsters arise for survival, to protect their owner. She-Beasts assure that a species continues. Though I’ve applied the She-Beast concept to a fictional species, they both derive from my brain, from the deeper, darker recesses where such things often brew.
Perhaps my Monster needed an imaginary friend… or a fictitious scapegoat.
Whatever the reason. Here we are– me, my Monster, and She-Beast. Take us or leave us.