When I was three, I wanted to be Princess Leia. She had cool hair, she had a gun, and she ended up with Han Solo, who had a Wookie, which was like a dog but so much cooler. Actually, I still want to be her. It’s just that, at three, I learned it wasn’t a viable career option. So I set my sights on something a little more attainable: author.
I love stories just as much now as I did when I was little. I liked reading them, and I liked telling them. Telling them got me into trouble a few times, because apparently telling stories everyone thought were real was frowned upon and was, in fact, called “lying.” It wasn’t my fault they didn’t know my stories were all made up. I knew, so they should have, too.
I slowly started to piece together that the books I loved were stories told by people. They had just put them onto paper and drew pictures to go with them. And suddenly, lightning struck, and I realized that people paid these other people–authors, my mother told me–to tell stories. It was their job.
I wanted it to be my job, too.
I started writing my stories down on paper. They were awful. They continued to be awful for a very, very long time. But I improved, and then people started telling me they were good and actually meaning it. That was when I started submitting them to literary magazines.
I have an e-mail folder full of rejection letters. If I printed them out, I could probably wallpaper a small mansion with them. It would also kill a forest. That coupled with my lack of access to a small mansion, I tend to just keep them there.
Soon, the form rejection letters because more personal. “Thank you for your interest in our publication, but we are choosing not to publish your story” became “I enjoyed your story, and I think your writing is strong, but I feel it is not right for our publication.” The confidence grew.
Finally, though, I got an acceptance e-mail. I read it about six times, looking for the usual letdown language I had come to expect: “we’re sorry,” “but unfortunately,” “have to pass.” None of that.
Your work has been accepted, and we would like to publish it in our upcoming issue.
So I’m getting published. And it’s awesome. I’ve been stupidly happy ever since I got the e-mail a few weeks ago. But this is not my happy ending. My story isn’t close to being over. My hope is that this is the beginning of my awesome, uplifting 80s movie montage of my life getting better.
Preferably set to “Heat of the Moment,” by Asia, but I’m not too picky.
The magazine that has graciously decided to publish me is a Canadian publication entitle OneTitle. My work, specifically, can be found in the issue entitled “The Good, the Bad, and the Sublime,” on page 65.