I’m getting my copy in the mail at some point, but I couldn’t help myself. I went to a bookstore just to look at it, just to hold it for a few moments.
It was surreal, seeing my name in print, flipping through the pages of my story.
I remember reading this anthology some years back and flipping to the contributors’ bio page. I remember pausing at one writer’s bio when I read that their story in the anthology was their first fiction publication. I remember thinking wow, that’s amazing, but also feeling, a little… helpless? This person must have had immense talent for their very first fiction publication to make it into the Journey Prize stories. And I felt helpless because it seemed like such a dream back then, that this could ever happen to me, that even my tenth publication (if I ever got that far) could make it into the anthology.
But that’s the thing about dreams. You feel hopeless, helpless, but because you still dream, you push past the feelings that pull you down, and stand up again.
Now, I know that writer wasn’t simply ‘immensely talented.’ I know they worked hard, and they waited. Behind that first publication were several drafts, at least ten, if not more more, and several months, may be even years, of struggling with plot, with character, with scene, with dialogue, with pacing, with gah this story is garbage and will never work. Struggling, but pushing through the resistance, never giving up.
So don’t give up, whatever your dream. Struggle, and yes, despair at times, but then dust it off, go for a walk, have an ice cream, and get back to it. And pray. Pray lots and pray always.
Your time will come, too. Do not doubt it.