It’s been a very good summer, and today is the event that marks the turning of the season for us: The Guilford Free Library Annual Book Sale. Peter and I have been known to skip work or cancel classes for it, if we couldn’t work it out with our schedules. This three-day event is the major fundraiser for our community library, and over time, we’ve acquired some amazing books—first, rare, or unusual editions or copies of favorites. We like to arrive early, but we’ve never managed to get close to the front of the line although we live only a mile from the town green. What I like most about this day, besides the promise of a box full of gently used books, is that it feels irretrievably like autumn.*
I crammed as much reading, studying, and writing as possible into my brain in between summer things.** My first short story, “Thieving Magpies,” will be published tomorrow by The Dew On The Kudzu. I’m delighted that the editor, Idgie, found it compelling. The Dew On The Kudzu has published stories and reviews of contemporary Southern literature since 2005. Idgie will make sure you never run out of anything good to read.
The submission process has been surprisingly supportive, despite two rejections. I submitted a lengthy version of the piece to a Glimmer Train competition in February that I did not expect to place, but it was a working goal. Then, I set it aside for about two months and worked on other projects before diving back into it for an extensive revision. The editors who sent the copy back this month were encouraging, and in one case, offered a specific recommendation that helped me to further strengthen the narrative. Then, it landed with Idgie over at The Dew. The following online directories and databases offer submission listings and/or management services: Poets & Writers, Duotrope, CLMP Directory, the Creative Writing Opportunities Listserv, and Newpages.com. Go ahead. Submit yours.
It’s been one year of intensive study and devotion to craft and technique. My writing wasn’t getting anywhere on its own, and I wasn’t committed to it. It lacked depth and it wasn’t dynamic or cohesive. I needed to learn the form and mechanics of story, and I’ve only glossed the surface. Maybe the next three will find homes as well. One thing is certain: I love what I do again.
* I realize the photo above is not our library: it’s Branford’s. I don’t have a photo of ours. However, The Branford Library is gorgeous. If you’re local on the shorline, it’s worth the trip.
** I managed to can twenty quarts of tomatoes and basil last week. Just yay.