I entered the room and immediately knew I was on the wrong movie set as I could not seem to locate her. After some searching I found her and we exchanged pleasantries and delved into my critique. The critique itself went very well. It was her comments about the poetry market that threw me for a loop. “Ken you will be wasting years of your life waiting to be discovered by the four houses that will even accept poetry. You need to do mid grade or even picture books. What else ya got for me?” My answer was “Well nothing. I’m a poet”. She spoke for a few more moments about how incredibly difficult it is to break in as a children’s poetry author and that being talented is not enough. You also have to be very lucky.
Throughout the rest of the conference her words kept playing in my head. I pride myself in being resourceful, so I sat deep in thought, almost ignoring the speakers in the break out sessions as I kept wondering how I could beat the odds and create my own luck. Perhaps I could attend the big New York conference and during the keynote presentation light my lower torso on fire? Surely some publishing house could use the tax write off and sign me if only to help pay for the skin graphs? How much is kerosene anyway? Or maybe I need to start taking acting lessons and win an academy award first to catch the attention of an agent or publishing house? That would increase my luck!
By the end of the conference I was still deep in thought. While they were wrapping things up and giving away cups, pens and these plants by drawing names, I was thinking about just how far I’ve come as a writer and the complete joy I have when I write something truly unique and then I heard my name called. Thinking I won a plant I was confused at why people were clapping so enthusiastically for my plant and not so much for the previous plants. Relax people, I don’t have a green thumb. It’ll die in a week. It turns out my name was picked, but not for a soon to perish plant. I just happened to be the grand prize winner and won free registration to the next conference! It took a few days, but I came to the realization that I was indeed very lucky and it’s for that reason that I keep pressing on.