A writer’s life is weird, especially if you write literary fiction or memoir. It often feels that one must pay for their dream of becoming an established writer with astounding quantities of time. You might respond, ‘So what Nina, time is free.’ Ah, but mais non, mais non. Time is not free. It is not limitless. Nor are any of us certain how much time we have to spend.
The process of writing and publishing a story can be a long one, and sometimes the threads extend back decades. Take my story The Tale Goes to the Survivor, for instance. I began writing it in 2013, but its origins reach back to 1974. In a sense, it took over forty years to write.
By January 2017, I’d taken it as far as my skills allowed and started submitting it to journals I admired. Six weeks later, Windmill, the Hofstra University’s online Journal of Literature and Art accepted it. Kelly McMasters and Keaton Ramjit’s suggestions for edits helped me realize I could braid my ‘who is speaking and why is this here’ prologue into the piece. I thought the result both beautiful and pleasing. In March, the story was published. Hurray!
Now onto another aspect of a writer’s life – crickets. After you let a piece go and send your creation out into the ether, usually all you hear is silence. It’s the emptiness and regret of plopping a prized stone into a lake and watching it sink into the dark depths with only a bubble of displaced air to mark its passage.
In June, disheartened by the silence, I ran across a call for a new website. Its creator wanted to publish a series of anthologies, featuring true stories written in response to a topic. The first was titled “Letters to My Ex.” I submitted Survivor and one day later, I was delighted to receive an acceptance from Denise Mills, which read in part, “Oh I love this so much! I was transported to your world for a moment in time…I’d be thrilled to include your piece – it’s absolutely lovely.” Acceptances and glowing comments don’t come around often; thank you Denise, I’ve lived for months on these affirmations.
On January 1, 2018, the Letters Anthology website launched. Survivor made a grateful curtsy on the 23rd. Here are a few words I’ve lifted from the site regarding its philosophy. “The Letters Anthology raises women’s voices for the purpose of personal empowerment and connection. It’s about women supporting women. It’s about women exploring and embracing the depths of themselves. This project gathers authentic letters that come straight from an explosion of the heart.”
I encourage you to take a leisurely walk through the site and make time to read every single letter. I love the Letters Anthology’s mission and goals. It’s a beautiful site and has my complete support.