Nice piece by Brian Lewis on the heart-warming process of collaboration- in this instance with me and his dad! As a result of a discussion I had with him, detailed below,my poem ‘Vows’ was subtly but significantly improved, a similar thing happened recently when a fellow member of the Bewildering Stories review team suggested an alteration to one of my poems -My policy is always not to be precious, but to judge each intervention on its merit..anyway, take it away Brian.
The very best part of this experience hasn’t been a single moment, but the process of discovering that throughout the writing and publishing industries there are people who are just excited to work together. Outside of the public face of the Big Publishing Houses, the whole environment is more collaborative and less competitive than I would ever have imagined. From garnering support from established authors to working with the marketing staff at Writer’s Digest, I have run into one friendly and helpful person after another.
I was particularly delighted to work with the writers accepted into Volume I. When I have humbly proposed changes to their submissions to prepare for publication, they have been gracious and willing to work with me. Two examples of this: John Stocks, whose poetry has been published in many anthologies, submitted the poem Vows, which I loved. But there was one word I wasn’t quite sure I understood the use of, so I asked him about it—over the course of an afternoon, John and I discussed the poem at length and he ended up choosing another word that better conveyed his intent. Not only was John Stocks wonderful to work with, but the entire discussion took place with me in the western U.S. and John in the U.K
The second example is similar: James E. Lewis, who publishes poetry as j.lewis, took a simple play on words (“surgical mass”) and created from it a poem that explored the metaphor. I liked the piece a lot, and James spent time talking through the poem with me in a “collaborative workshop” type discussion until we both felt it was ready for publication. The best part for me? The similarity of our names is no coincidence: Mr. Lewis is my dad.