Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Does Bad Luck Count?

I feel lucky not to have encountered any real Scrooges related to my writing. My friends still tell me to stick with it, and many, such as the other members of this blog, offer frequent encouragement. My few interactions with editors and agents (conferences, rejection letters, a handful of publications) have all been congenial; I emphasize few: to be honest, I don’t get out much. I attend a conference every year or two, meet monthly with a small critique group, and occasionally submit stories or poems to magazines, along with three novels over the last fifteen years. It’s a slow pace, and I’m sure that as I continue to work on my craft and finish more projects I will eventually cross paths with somebody in the publishing world who will treat me rudely. So far, I’ve rarely even met anyone having a bad day! I’m serious: I need to get out more.

So no Scrooges – unless you count bad luck. Like the time twenty years ago when I had a story accepted for publication in the Sunday arts supplement of the Oregonian. My only previous publication had been in my college’s literary magazine, so I was absolutely thrilled with the acceptance letter (which included a check for $200). But a month later the arts section was cut from the newspaper, the editor who loved my story was out of a job, and I was back to submitting the story elsewhere. I could keep the check, though.

I never did find a home for that story. I think I gave up after a couple of years and maybe twenty submissions. The check stub is in my envelope of acceptance letters – but I’d rather the story was published.


Lauren said...

I am not sure I would call it "bad luck" Mark~ I would say that the Oregonian "scrooged" you (and the editor who loved your story!) by cutting its arts section! Darn! I would love to read the story now, what was it about?

It sounds like you are getting out quite a bit, especially with a young son at home. Balancing writing, family, and getting the work out is a huge undertaking and it seems you perform it just right for now.

Stephanie said...

That stinks. I'm so glad you're hanging in there and still doing it. I have no doubt you'll be in print one day.

David LaRochelle said...

What a heartbreaker, Mark, expecting to see your story published and then having that section of the paper canceled. Yes, you will be in print in the future!

Christy said...

Have any of you explored online publications? Could this be a stepping stone? In any case, Mark, don't give up looking for a new home for that story and the ones you are working on now.

By the way, sorry to not respond sooner to your post. I am up in your neck of the woods on Bainbridge Island as I write. It's so mild!