Twenty nine ways

I finished writing my last story today. Ten stories and 57,000 words in total. Almost a year in the making. I bundled off the last three and sent them to my publisher. Only my poor bewildered dog around to witness the whoop of victory and accompaning happy dance.

I am thrilled on so many levels. Exhausted but proud, like a parent. I have set myself something and finished it. But above all, I’ve vanquished my demons.

Every morning, as I dragged myself to my desk, I tried to ignore the little voices that kept telling me I was bound to fail.  The whispering that I would never fill that empty, expectant space with words that someone else might want to read. You are not perfect, the voice said.

Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.

I wanted my stories to be more rounded. I wanted them to be fun; not so serious. I dreamed of stories where people didn’t drown or feel like drowning. I had an urge to show I could do clever and coy, to show I could do optimism. But at some point I had to accept my poor emo stories for what they were.

I ended up with ten flawed, errant, strange and hopeless stories. They stand together huddled against the backdrop of rain and misery. Dark stories representative of a time before, when everything in my life was grey and isolated. To airbrush them would be dishonest. Maybe it isn’t enough. But they are mine. Perfection be damned.

3 Comments

  1. Stephen Eric Berry

    Congrats on finishing your work. Just one suggestion to offer: skip sending your work to Indiana Review. Just recently I received a rejection notice from this magazine a full ONE YEAR following my submission of a piece of fiction.I would also extend this warning to anyone who is considering submitting work to this magazine: think about whether or not you want to subject yourself to this level of disrespect; give that a little thought before you lick your envelope and send them your work.Stephen Eric BerryAnn Arbor, MI

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