Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Finding a Home

I got some good news recently: one of my short stories has found a home!

"Demeter's Easter," which features a wonderful woman named Sylvia, won second place in the annual Ten Stories High contest, sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association-Niagara Branch. It will be published in the 17th volume of their Ten Stories High anthology.

Sylvia will be in good company. I haven't read this particular story by John Pringle, but I know him and his work (yay Northwestern Ontario writers!), and several other people whose work was chosen have placed stories in the past.

Each time something (someone) I write finds a home, I'm thrilled, especially when it's fiction. (Also with nonfiction, except that the thrill is slightly different.) When I send out a short story, I'm vulnerable, which is fine. I'm an adult, I can take it.

But submitting also makes my characters vulnerable. They're out there being evaluated, except that they live only through the way I express them.

Although I know that stories get rejected for lots of reasons, I also know that sometimes those reasons come down to craft. Sometimes, I haven't quite found the best way to express that character in the world. So I see what I'm getting wrong, and try again.

Even when I dislike someone I've written, I feel responsible for their happiness. Maybe even more so--when I'm digging deep into a part of life that's hateful or unpleasant, I feel a greater responsibility to do justice to their perspective. No matter how ugly.

Maybe someday I'll be blasé when my work is published--maybe it won't feel so personal. In looking over the "I'm stunned" label, with which I mark posts that report external recognition, I'm not sure that's ever gonna happen. Which is also OK.

In any case--good news in trying times. Thanks to all those at the CAA-Niagara Branch for managing a contest. I know from experience how hard it is, and I appreciate your time and effort!