For the first time since I was a teenager, I’ve submitted poems for someone else’s official approval or condemnation. It’s exhilarating–and terrifying. Not unlike a roller coaster.

I hate this.

I much prefer to have a known set of guidelines, of rules, of answers. I much prefer to follow the published steps to inevitable success, know the material and get an an A+ on the test. It’s easy and predictable. Anything else seems like a popularity contest. Or cheating.

So much about life is distressing, particularly surrendering control to someone else’s whim. I’ve avoided such vulnerable exposure.

Until now.