I like tinyletters. I subscribe to a couple, and am delighted every time one of them arrives in my inbox. Which is rather infrequently; the ones I subscribe to don’t seem to have any regular schedule. They just show up. Which just adds to the delight.

Manjula Martin’s three cents is my favorite right now. Probably because it just arrived.

Among the interesting and quirky things she shares — thoughts on the punk band Fugazi and book tours and what if you’re done doing the thing that brought you to this place — was a link to this column by Tess Taylor from Poets & Writers, in which Taylor interviewed three publicists to find out how writers might go about sharing their work with the world. The answers were surprising to me, which is one reason I’m sharing it with you.

The other reason is that, late in the piece, Taylor included a lovely line from a follow-up letter she wrote to one of her interviewees, publicist Lauren Cerand. Taylor was responding to a question Cerand likes to ask of writers seeking publicity: “What do you want that you don’t have?”

It’s such an important question, because success doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. We can’t assume that what I want is what you want. And sometimes we don’t know what we want. And sometimes we don’t want what we think we want. So it’s helpful to ponder and not just react.

Think on it. Sit with it. Write on it.

In her letter to Cerand, Taylor’s wrote,

“I want poetry that brings us back to the body, back to the breath, back to each other.”

This was Cerand’s reply:

“Why don’t you find a church or public space in your community and try to host a really simple family-friendly reading? Once a month, a kind of deeply community-inspired poetry outreach? (…) You could include music and food. People could relax.”

I swear, it’s like they’re having this conversation just for me.


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