Thursday, December 8, 2011
When Things Finally Happen...
I have been working at this publishing game for several years now. I have had plenty of failures, and some successes. My successes have until this time been on a fairly small scale with local newspapers, small literary journals and of course, this blog. All told, I've probably made $400 over the past 4 years between the KVSUN and my blog earnings. Not bad. However, any of my attempts to break into something bigger have yielded no result.
Just last week I got a rejection from a Children's magazine. They at least told me why they were rejecting my story, which was a tale about Ladybug the dog, that I had completely fallen in love with as soon as I wrote it, but which they said didn't have enough conflict to interest children and lacked emotional impact. That stung for a few days...but I appreciate the feedback.
Come to think of it, I've never gotten positive responses from any of my submitted children's writing. I think part of it is that there don't seem to be many obscure children's magazines...after all, who would buy them? Also, I need to take a workshop or a class of some kind. Clearly, my work is missing something.
The best successes I've had recently have been nonfiction pieces and I think they are getting such positive results because of the nonfiction workshop I took this summer. That really made a difference.
Anyway, this week...this week I recieved an email that stunned and shocked me. I had submitted a 400-word autobiographical story, "The Promise Pincecone," to Guideposts Magazine. I never in a million years expected them to accept it. They get tons of submissions and have a readership around oh, 5,000,000 people. It was a nice little story, but once I submitted it on an act of baseless hope, I sort of forgot about it. In fact, I regretted submitting it because it's very honest about the way things have been in my life this year...and doesn't cast the nicest light on certain family members in my life.
It was one thing to write about my family members when I was being picked up by obscure journals. What are the chances of them coming across my work? Pretty much nill.
But Guideposts accepted my piece. I stared at the screen at first...frozen. It reminded me of when I first looked at my positive home pregnancy test. I always imagine that I will jump up and down and scream with joy when these things happen...but instead I just sit there, shocked and in disbelief. An intense hot sensation spread across my face.
I quickly told my husband Anthony what had happened...and he was thrilled for me, but also I told him that at that point I was considering withdrawing the piece. After all, it was his dad I had been writing about. I printed him a copy and sat with my legs up on my chair hugged to my chest, waiting for him to finish reading it.
"Well, it's all true," he said. "I think you should publish it."
"I don't know..." I hesitated, "Chances are, your mom is going to find out about this and it's not worth causing a fight in our family just for this."
"You didn't write anything negative about my mom, just a few things about my dad," he countered. "And it was all true and you ended the story happily. This is a great opportunity for you and I don't want you to miss it."
We prayed and decided to go ahead and publish the piece.
Then I spent 2 hours trying to find a picture of myself. I don't have many that are good shots just of me. I finally managed to find a headshot my Uncle Ronnie had taken for me a few years ago where I look relatively normal.
I always thought I'd be ready when something like this happened, but I didn't feel ready at all. Only after about 2 hours did I start getting excited about it, and then I couldn't even sleep because I was so excited.
When I woke up this morning, I half expected to check my email and have another message from Guideposts saying they had changed their minds or something, but nope, it wasn't there.
I am not sure which edition the piece will appear in, but it will probably be sometime in the next year. I wonder if I will have to wait for the piece to come out before I can finally believe this is real.