A story of a story

by Joni Abilene

Spent most of yesterday sending out subs to short story markets. It’s exciting, but I’m prone to mistakes and have to triple check everything, so it’s nerve wracking as well. One of the stories I sent out has had quite a long journey. I started it several springtimes ago, liked the idea and voice, but quickly became intimidated and put it aside. I’m not ready for this, I kept telling myself. It’s a fluke. You can’t really write like that. It won’t happen again. I read tons that following summer. Pacified myself against the duty of something I felt to be far too grande and out of reach. But I wanted to write it. Isn’t that strange? I wanted to, but couldn’t. That one story kept me from writing anything else the rest of the summer. In the fall, I did start up another project and then another and kept writing. Maybe that was the trick. It helped release me from the anxiety of ‘the story’ and taught me that not one story was more important, or more difficult, they’re all of equal importance and if I wrote one, I could write the other.

So it was this fall that I sat down and opened the document again. I thought, write a few paragraphs then you can stop. They don’t have to be good, and you don’t have to like them. So I did. At first it felt like I was screaming dry words in a tunnel. But then the voice, the words, came back and the story released itself from wherever I’d hidden it. Such a relief.

Now does that mean it will get published? Eventually, yes. It will. That’s the tough part of this business, the waiting. What other job takes three months or more for a reaction? A writer must be the most patient out of any tradesperson in the world. And then if you get an acceptance, you still have to wait to be published. I think every writer needs a Yoda to keep them from freaking out, a little guru of some sort. Isn’t that why so many of us drink? Patience. Time moves slowly.