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I think you can spell grueling with one l or 2. When I try with 2, my spell check gives me a red warning line.

I found out that the deadline for a chapbook competition to which I want to submit is NOT January 31, but January 4. How did I miss this? What was I thinking?

I am in the happy state of scrambling together my manuscript RIGHT NOW (except for this blog post).

Because I submitted a full-length manuscript back in July, I am in pretty good shape and this is only a 28-page chapbook.

This is not really grueling, but what is grueling are the voices in my head, the NO NO NOs and the YOU CAN’Ts and the THESE POEMS ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGHs and the YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOINGs.

Lie down, meditate, run, jump, hike, bathe, cook, clean, shovel, say om shanti as many times as it takes to kick the voices out and clear the mind and proceed. Do laundry, cook and clean some more. Make lists, clear desk.

I’m accepting any votes of confidence and encouragement from you, my pets. YOU. I need you.

One thing that is encouraging, all on my own: in looking over the manuscript from July (rejected, yes), I see, as with previous rejected manuscripts/poems, how many poems can be removed completely; I find words and lines that can be edited out. Looking broadly through my files, I also see that I have more new poems than I realized. I see that my writing is getting stronger, if not particularly varied in tone or subject, and I know that my ability to edit out pittances is better. I am earning a keener eye and ear.

This is the end of Year Two of my blog which I love knowing. I remember how scary it seemed at first, how exciting, how I felt on the edge of offense or scandal with each swear word or talk of sex or nudity. I read old posts and I know I have matured and gotten more comfortable. I know I am a better writer and that I can continue to improve.

I do believe this is my 400th post. I like the tidiness of it: last day of the year, 400 posts.

Good Riddance 2012!!!

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