More thoughts on being published

So the reason why I haven’t been able to go to the Midwest Literary Festival was that our family spent a week up in Cedarville, MI at the Intervarsity Cedar Camp there. Naturally, this meant that once we got back home, we had a huge pile of mail waiting for us. And the first thing on top of the pile was two copies of Kaleidotrope. And right there, on page 3, was “Click”.

Very, very surreal.

I’m not talking about the story itself, which can be described as surreal, I guess. I’m talking about seeing the words that I have slaved over for several months not hovering on a LCD screen or in loose-leaf, double spaced printed format with red ink all over it. I’m talking about Times New Roman single spaced, two columned, italicized, bound in a book with several other stories. With a graphic: A gargoyle/demon/wraith thing that fits so well with the story…but also looks disturbingly cute. I want to take it home and call it Iggy. He shall sleep in the shed and I’ll throw it raw chicken bones for dinner…

Err…ahumm…sorry…got a little carried away there…

I had mentioned in my post for the Writer’s Block that there’s something different about seeing your work in print. That it’s tangible. You can trace your name with your fingers. You can even smell it (and yeah, how weird is that? For some bizarre reason, I’ve been taking to holding the zine up to my nose and sniffing it. It’s most disturbing…and yet…I just can’t help it. It smells real!)

But there something else I didn’t count on in seeing my story in print…and that was almost the strange disconnected feeling as I read it.

I know the words intimately. I can almost close my eyes and recite the beginning off the top of my head. But when I open it up and look at it, it’s almost as if I’m reading something that someone else wrote. And as I get drawn into what I wrote, I think: I wrote this? Me? That can’t be right. This is…good!

It’s not an ego-boosting thing. Trust me. Nor am I saying this with a boastful air. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m astonished to see a story of mine in print, and I’m humbled that this was printed at all…compared to the other stories within the zine. And trust me, there are some very good stories in this zine. I haven’t finished it yet (when you read a short story zine, it’s best to read it in bits, I’ve learned. That way, the stories stay with you more.) but I did take a look at the bios at the back, and was blown away by some of the writers’ creds. There’s this one story, “Guy, Sky High” by Edd Vick about a guy dying that brought tears to my eyes. And my story is published in the same zine as his?! That blows my mind.

I guess that’s why it looks so strange to me. I’m not used to seeing my work in print like this before. And you know what? I want more. I want to get more stuff printed. Just to see what my stuff will look like.

That’s not to say that I’m giving up on the net market too. I find that getting published on the Internet is just as important. In fact, it looks like that article I’ve been working on all September will be getting published after all…and that one will be on the web. More details coming as soon as I get them.

In the meantime, it’s back to the grindstone. I got more stories that need to be polished and sent on their way. Aaaaand, starting next week, it will be back to work on The Weeping of the Willows. Huh…I wonder what it will be like to see that in print?

Guess I better start working on it so I can find out.

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2 Responses

  1. It is, indeed, somehow different to hold your printed work in your hands. I’m not much for revisiting my writing–I don’t even have copies of most of my clips and I don’t think that I’ve ever actually read anything I wrote in its entirety once it was published. Once I’m done writing something, I’m pretty much done with it and entirely focused on the next piece. Even so, there’s something so…tangible…about touching your own printed work. It makes me sad to think that generations of readers and writers might never have that experience.

  2. Your story was awfully good, too. It’s quite a big deal to lead off the issue!

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