Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Breast cancer survivor poetry

For some time now, I had been working on a breast cancer ebook that is meant to benefit a charity. And, this week, I thought I was going to finish it up. I was in the process of editing the manuscript and formatting it for submission. However, as I went through the manuscript and put together the table of contents, something struck me.

During the time I was well into the edits and formatting, I went over the contents to make sure everything was as it should be. Then I saw the words "breast cancer survivor poetry" and thought, 'Cool! There's poems in there from breast cancer survivors!' (See? This is how distracted I can get during the editing stage.)

But, actually, there weren't any poems by breast cancer survivors. It was only a short piece on the healing power of poetry and some links to where people can find poems written by breast cancer survivors.

My reaction to this? 'Wow, what a letdown.'

And, if I was the reader and not the author/editor of this ebook, I would track down the author/editor, grab that by the collar and frantically shake them, demanding, "WHERE'S THE POEMS??!!!"

As these emotions swam over me, I sat at the desk and thought about them. I really tuned in to this kind of reaction. Either I was not wording that part of the manuscript correctly or I was shortchanging readers who would have liked to see some poems that were written by breast cancer survivors.

So, the question is, which one is it?

I thought some more about this. Should I include poems written by breast cancer survivors? Poems about their experiences? Poems even in memory of those who lost the battle against breast cancer?

Hmm. It was something to think about. And I couldn't really decide either way.

So, I decided to ask on Facebook. But I didn't get any reply. I asked on Twitter. Nothing.


I guess I will have to decide on this myself. On one hand, I DO like the idea. But on the other ... I am not able to pay anyone for including their poems. Plus, I might have to reject some. and that thought makes me feel pretty bad. (As a writer, I know the sting of rejection.)

Still, it's an idea I am toying around with. I hope that I will find some way to reach a decision about whether or not to include this. I suppose I need time -- but not TOO much time. I am planning to finish up this project before the year is out -- and, here again, that is yet another thing to consider when making my decision: Time.

UPDATE, 11/29: I have decided not to include any poetry in this book. The manuscript is being prepped for a submission tomorrow. That is all.

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