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.


  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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