The Literary Lab just announced the winnersto be included in their anticipated anthology, “Variations on a Theme.” My short story “The Barcelona Chairs” is among those chosen for publication.
Participants had been asked to use as inspiration one of two short stories, Chekhov’s “The Huntsman” or Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Tinderbox.” I used Chekhov’s tale of an abandoned wife to inspire me to create a contemporary version of a marriage cleft by abandonment.
I salute the two prize winners, Yat-Yee Chongand Judy Croome. I also congratulate the other authorswhose stories will be included in the anthology, currently slated for publication in mid-March. I eagerly anticipate reading their short stories. I am sure my story will be in great company.
The Literary Labtrio of Michelle Davidson Argyle, Davin Malasarn, and Scott G. F. Bailey deserve high praise for sponsoring this anthology. I can only imagine the hard work involved in reading and then selecting winners from among all the worthy entries. As I told them, “Thank you for making me soar.” I thank them for choosing my story and for promoting the art of literary writing. May they reap ample rewards from their efforts.
As soon as publication details emerge, I will share them with you.
Last I checked, I am not an actor. But I feel like one auditioning for a role whenever I submit a short story to a review or a query letter to an agent. There must be common ground here—the hope at submission, the exhilaration of acceptance, the plummet at rejection. That’s not even mentioning how stacked the odds are against admission to the club. Honestly, I have to acknowledge the courage of actors who do this in person. If I had to do that, I might never submit my work.
But submit I do. You should see the size of my Excel worksheet which tracks the history of my submissions over the years. It ain’t small, let’s just say. It might never have reached that size, though, if along the way I had not received acknowledgement that my writing has merit. Twelve of my stories have been published. Two of my novels, though not published, received recognition. Cruel carrot or not, this whets my willingness to keep going.
It may sound cheesy, but I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on something imbued with possibility. It makes other more intractable issues in my life appear less overwhelming. So, in the last two months, I have sent out thirteen stories to roughly sixty literary reviews. I started crafting my query letter and synopsis for my latest completed novel. To date, three of my stories have been accepted for publication. Hope reigns strong that the other stories and my novel will find homes, too.
Here is what I also know about this writing thing. I can’t not write. Writing feels as essential to me as breathing. As for getting my work out into the public arena, I follow the intention of a poem I once wrote.
One thing I do know. Giving up beforehand means guaranteed defeat.
So the stories, novels, and poems will continue to emerge from my production line. Their fate in the vast distribution channel of publishing is another thing altogether.
The defining image of this blog is a waterfall. Its inspiration comes from a scene in one of my novels in which the infant protagonist escapes her mother’s attention and wanders off to a nearby waterfall. While there, she experiences a mysterious sense of wellbeing, which she yearns to replicate for the rest of her life.
"I have made love to my writing and am now in the afterglow."
"Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession... Do that which is assigned to you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
About his fictional town Macondo, widely acknowledged to be inspired by his real home town of Aracataca, Colombia. “Macondo is not so much a place as it is a state of mind.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
"The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers fear."
"The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing."
Blaise Pascal, Pensées
"There is vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and, because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly... to keep the channel open."