I got my short story published today, and the magazine sent me an email to let me know I will receive this hard copy. I am truly honored. Maybe, I tell myself, I can finally call myself a writer.
My ultimate goal is to finish the revisions on my memoir – but the short story is a good way to practice great storytelling. Someone gave me good advice about establishing writing credits before I begin the query process. So I worked on this particular story for over a year, revising, submitting, gettting it rejected, and revising again and again. I sent it to over 50 places. One of the reasons I was determined to get this particular story published was to prove I could do it, and the greatest motivation (at least in the back of my mind) was to prove someone wrong. That person was Dave.
Don’t let other people make you feel ashamed. There’s no reason to put up with nasty criticism. It’s not worth any price. I mention price because Dave never charged me a penny. “I want to pay it forward,” he said. He acted as a mentor. I thought I was lucky I had someone who would work with me and didn’t expect compensation. But he got wierd. Real wierd. Chip opinioned that Dave became frustrated and impatient with me because I didn’t listen. Maybe that’s true, but my memory of working with Dave is tainted. He often grew testy and mean. Did he think he was one of protagonist in his short stories? I regret I held on a little longer than I should. I stuck it out with Dave until after the interview incident with Ariel Chart. They nominated my short story, My Phantom Ovaries for the Pushcart and invited me to speak about the process of writing. During the interview, I mentioned Dave, praised him for his role in coaching me through all the revisions, and after the interview aired, Dave accused me of not giving him the credit he was due. Bewildered, I apologized profusely, although I was unsure why. Talk about a psychic sunburn – I received imaginary third degree burns from his rant!
For those who don’t remember Dave, he was a mentor/editor I had worked with up until last year. I learned valuable lessons from Dave and it’s this:
Dave got dramatic, snide. Was he jealous? One of his last comments was I would never get this story published. The threat of not being successful haunted me. But he was wrong,
Here’s the story. He helped me with this one too. I wish Dave well but I will never speak to him again, Dave is entirely too toxic. If he ever reads my blog, which I don’t think he will, he won’t understand, but I don’t expect him to. So Dave – “We will never speak again.” I quote you here. You wrote this to my writer friend because she sent you part of her manuscript. Your response was tasteless and rude.
I have a new editor now. We have just started working together but I know she’s the right one. Erica doesn’t shame me or talk to me about anything other than the content of my memoir. And she believes in my story.
The Psychic Sunburn was published in Variant Literature magazine. The link is below.
https://www.variantlit.com/journals ( Summer 2020 ) Story is on page 36