I’ve taken some time off from the blog, obviously. The reasons why are hard to pinpoint. Laziness? Sloth? Vagrancy? Nah. Too busy? Not really, I can always carve out time. Well, why then? Other than the fact that I just don’t like to blog, I think it was because there were no updates about my writing.
Simple as that… And maybe not so simple.
After doing the short story collection (a wonderful and gratifying but epic failure in self publishing, commercially speaking—I highly recommend it!) and then trying to re-write a novel, and then re-tinkering with another novel, I realized I didn’t have anything to send out to the lit magazines. Being empty handed is rare. For the last ten years, I’ve almost always had something in the mail. A short story. An essay. Query letters. Threats. Dick pics. Anthrax. But, I had nothing. No forward motion. Dead fish.
I tried to change that over the summer. I started and finished a few stories, polished ’em up, and got ’em out into circulation. That felt good. I liked what I was writing. It made sense to me. The rejections came, of course. That’s ok. They always do. Then a handful of personal rejection letters came, which is always nice, and maybe let’s you know that you’re doing something right, to stay the path. But, no bites on these stories. Don’t get sad. That’s the biz. Just hunker down. Find the right magazine for these somewhat vulgar but heartfelt stories.
Come fall, my father passed away. Just before Halloween. My father was 75. That sucked. Hard. There was grief, sadness. And then on the day we buried him (we didn’t actually bury him, per se, we slapped him into a tomb instead, sealed him up), moments before I’m about to head up to the funeral home and say goodbye and deliver my eulogy (he was a great fucking father, these were my exact words because he was) I get an email from one of the editors at the Barely South Review.
“We’d like to publish your story…”
It was hard to be happy about this acceptance. It was hard to feel relief. It was hard feel anything. Even bowel movements held no pleasure.
I didn’t tell anyone about the acceptance except my wife. I didn’t tell my friends or inform my writing circles. I didn’t make an announcement on social media. I didn’t update the blog. I’m not normally a braggart anyway, but it’s always nice to make an announcement about publishing something you’ve worked hard on.
I just said ‘hard on’ and you didn’t even think twice, did you? I did.
Anyway, now that enough time has passed, and now that I’m enjoying my bowel movements once again, and now that I’m feeling less numb about losing a great fucking father, maybe, just maybe, with the right perspective, I now realize this acceptance from the Barely South Review on the day of my father’s funeral was the universe trying to tell me something. Maybe that sounds hinky to you? It sounds a bit hinky to me. I don’t actually know what that ‘something’ is, but that’s for me to figure out. Poignant moments such as this take a while for me to process.
Nonetheless, I’d like to announce that my story “Long Weekend” has been published in the Spring 2017 edition of the Barely South Review. Check it out when you get the chance. It’s a great literary magazine and I’m proud to have my story appear alongside such talented writers. Fittingly, my story is about a public school teacher. My father was a public school teacher for 33 years. This one is for my father.
Thanks for listening.