What’s the Opposite of Prophesy?

Sunday the Glimmer Train August Short Story Award for New Writers was announced.  I had high hopes for my short story The Fisherman.  As I knew from my status, I didn’t win.  As I learned Thursday, with my excellent web research skills, I did not make the top 25.  Finally I learned, from the official Glimmer Train announcement, that I didn’t even make the honorable mention list.  My first fiction submission and I got nothing.  Crap.  My prophetic dream was the opposite of what I had hoped.  Everyone was right.  You don’t get published the first time.  What a bummer.

I was disappointed, until my husband asked a very important question:

“How did they decide the winner?” asked Mr. Afthead

“Well, these two sisters run the literary magazine, so they decided.” I responded.

“That seems awfully arbitrary.”

He was right.  Two women didn’t like my story.  Yes, it was two women who happen to have the power to publish, but it was just two people.  His words jolted me into remembering why I wrote the story in the first place, and why I wanted to get it out there.  I love that story, and the only way for me to share it with people is to write it down, be brave and send it into the world.  With my first draft something amazing happened.  The story developed a story of it’s own when others read it.  Different people liked parts that other people hated.  Some people thought it was creepy.  Another blogger, On the Lamb Design, tied it to a real life experience, and the similarities are haunting.  Overall the response was not just positive, but thought provoking.

My favorite reaction was my husband’s.  I gave him a copy of a later draft of the story and asked him to read it.  When he finished we had the following discussion:

“This is good,” he said.  “Where did you get it.”

“I wrote it.”

“Reallly?  I thought it was by a real writer.  I like how The Fisherman made the dad a better dad.”

Okay, first of all my husband thought a “real writer” was the story’s author.  Then, he found a story in my words that I never intended.  I didn’t mean for The Fisherman to make the father a better dad, but when my husband found that meaning I saw it too.  When I write and share, something magical happens.  I agree completely with my writing guru, Stephen King, when he says that the reading/writing bond is telepathy.  I write something, and you read it through your lens, and we share a common vision together.  Sometimes our lenses are the same, but sometimes one or the other distorts the story and it changes.  To understand how others find different meaning in my words makes me want to write and read more.

So I’m disappointed that two sisters didn’t like my story, but I’m still going to write, and I’m still going to share, and I’m still going to submit.  This is magic stuff happening, and I’m not about to let it go.

The Liebster Award

Well, as a result of a recent follower/followee relationship I have been nominated for the Liebster Award.  Thank you so much Kwoted by K E Garland!  If you haven’t read any of her stuff, check her out. She’s a great storyteller with a unique perspective.

As part of receiving this award I have a bunch of questions to answer.  It’s like blogging award homework.  So, without further ado:

1. Plastic or paper?

If I don’t remember my own bags, it’s plastic.  I’d rather sacrifice a plastic than a tree.  We have this thing that looks like a pregnant patchwork maggot that holds our plastic bags until we can recycle them.

2. Book before movie or movie before book?

I am a snob about this question.   Book before the movie, always.  I read upwards of 50 books a year and see six movies if I am lucky.  (Not including repeats of kid movies.)  If I waited for the movie I’d never read anything.  Also, I like reading the unabridged story before seeing the abridgment on the big screen.

3. Oprah or Ellen?

I’m not a big talk show person, but I have to go with Oprah.  Although, I’ve most recently seen Ellen on some HGTV design  show.  They are both strong, passionate women, but having lived in Chicago for a couple of years nudges Oprah ahead in my book.   “You get a car!  You get a car!”

4. Writing in public or writing in your home?

Writing at home, preferably in my studio with the door shut and space heater on surrounded by my fabric and yarn.

5. Married or single?

Married to a vocabulary challenged mate.  (Love you Mr. Afthead!)

6. Dog or cat?

I hate this question.  I always feel unpatriotic when I say I don’t like dogs.  Cat.  Two of them usually, but one is sick right now.  I also have a hamster, snails and pillbugs in my house (on purpose.)

7. Healthy lifestyle or who cares?

Well this is a tough one.  From a working out and physical health perspective I’d pick healthy lifestyle.  I try to run 2-3 times a week and used to do crazy things like marathons and triathlons.  I get grouchy when I don’t work out.  However, as I finish off a bag of Hot Tamales with a Diet Dr Pepper, I can state with certainty that I don’t practice a healthy lifestyle when it comes to food.

8. City or Suburbs?

City.  I’ve lived in New York and Chicago.  I want to retire in San Francisco, at least for awhile.  My theory is that people only live in the suburbs because they get lost in the maze of similarly named cul-de-sacs, ways, circles and lanes and just give up and buy a house at 123 SE Marigold Way.  Once they move in their neighbors tell them how to get to Walmart after they pay their HOA fees and join the pool.

9.  Limited choice or complete freedom?

I guess limited choice, even though it makes me squirm in my chair to write that down.  I believe that people should wear motorcycle helmets because if they fall someone else is going to have to pick their brains off the road.  I won’t ride bikes with someone not wearing a helmet because I don’t want to be the brain cleaner-upper.  I think complete freedom is great so long as you are a hermit living in a cave by yourself and your choices only impact you.  (Trust me, sometimes I really want to go live in a cave, but I would wear a helmet in case a rock slide hit me in the head and some unsuspecting future hermit found me with my grey matter leaking out.)  Brains play a big part in this belief of mine.

10.  Rainy day or snowy day?

I live in Denver, so snowy days happen frequently.  Rainy days are limited to spring, especially right-now-ish,  I love the smell of rain.  I love sleeping when it is raining.  I love the sound of rain and thunder.  I love my raincoat.  I like the word galoshes.  I gotta go with rain.

11. Writing on a device or writing by hand?

Writing on a device.  Man, if I had to write by hand no one would ever understand a word I put to paper, including me.  Terrible handwriting coupled with terrible spelling makes writing by hand a bad choice for me.  If it was 1915 instead of 2015 I’d have no dreams of being a writer.  Even I can’t read my chicken scratches.

This was fun!  Thanks again to Ms. Kwoted at https://kwoted.wordpress.com/ for the nomination.  My blog picks for this award will be coming soon, so write something awesome!