A Word From Maxwell Baumbach
I've been told that to be a great writer, you must live. I read in the newspaper one time that the reason there are so few "prodigies" in writing is because your writing cannot truly resonate until you have experienced the ups and downs of life, specifically, growing up. I'm not grown up completely--of that I'm sure. I am a 21-year-old college student who still enjoys playing Xbox too much for his own good and I like to throw back some drinks with my buddies on the weekends. I haven't entirely discovered the key to doing my own laundry without shrinking my clothes. However, I am "growing." While I do want to be a great writer, I do not believe that one must be entirely "grown up" to be one.
Grown up is a term I don't like. It is my belief that if you are not growing you are regressing. Self-improvement never ends. To see oneself as grown up is to limit oneself to the current state. I feel that to be a great writer one must live, continually grow, and write frequently along the way. That is what I have tried to do and I feel as if I've seen some dividends. My work has been featured in numerous publications, I've authored two chapbooks, and I was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize. However, I still have a long way to go. I can become better, and there are still a bunch of publications that I want to see my work placed in (I'm looking at YOU, Tin House!). But my writing won't just end up there because I get older; I need to put in the work.
In my honest opinion, the best example of my work to date is At Age Twenty, my forthcoming full-length collection from unbound CONTENT. I am proud of every word I wrote in that book. It provides a snapshot along the continuum of my growing process. Several months ago I went to Annmarie Lockhart asking if she had an interest in publishing a collection of my work. Obviously she needed to see it first. What came next was three of the best writing weeks of my life. I explored every life experience, brought myself down to the lowest depths I'd ever reached, considered the doubts and disbelief. I took myself to the highest of highs, the triumphs and victories. I wrote something not just for my friends and family, but for everyone. Something literally anyone my age could understand and relate to. Something older people could read and reflect back on their own experiences. This is how At Age Twenty was born.
I wrote a mission statement poem for the book titled "At Age Twenty." But the main title ideas I tossed around were Well, I Guess This Is Growing Up and the incredibly cheesy Constellations. When Annmarie read the manuscript she came up with the idea of using At Age Twenty as the title. I don't think a more fitting title could possibly exist.
Sending out my work and getting it published is cool. It's awesome that I have two books already available; I'm proud of both of them. But words can't describe how proud I am of this one. This is pure, unfiltered Maxwell Baumbach in book form.
Thank you all for your support. Thank you Annmarie for publishing this. I hope that all of you will read this book when it's released. It will take you on an emotional roller coaster. One that I ride every day. Hop on.
Oh, and never be all grown up.
Editor's note: At Age Twenty is forthcoming from unbound CONTENT. Look for more information SOON! In the meantime, read Maxwell Baumbach's work in various print and online journals (google him!) and here at this blog and vox poetica. He is the genuine article, the real deal. Don't believe me? See for yourself. --Annmarie Lockhart