I have made the decision that it is more important to me that my stories be shared than that they be published in the traditional sense.
I take a very long time to write my stories and it takes a very long time for one of those stories to maybe, perhaps, if I'm lucky and the stars align and the person wading through the slush pile is still seeing straight and it matches the theme of an upcoming issue and the editorial committee can come to agreement and the main editor is amenable to the piece (and hopefully is sleeping well these days) be published.
I will probably keep girding my loins to send out my work -- because that siren call of being 'properly published' is strong -- but that process takes so long and I'm not getting any younger and, ultimately, stories are to be shared so . . . here I am.*
Just so you know, once I share a story here, I cannot submit it anywhere else in the world. It is considered published. So, if you like what you read, please share it with others who you think might enjoy it by sending them a link to this page. I may be willing to share my work as a gift to the world, but I would like to at least receive credit for it.
* A lot of run-on sentences here, I know. Lucky you, to be invited to tag along with a work-in-progress minus perfectionism's sheen.
This story was published in the now-defunct magazine, Ficta Fabula. It was one of my first attempts at writing an 'adult' story -- definitely a departure from anything I'd done before. I remember the day I showed it to my husband.
"Well?" I said, when his eyes finally rose from the last page. "What do you think?
"Well," he echoed, but without the upward inflection, and then he paused. It was a long pause. "Well," he repeated. "Better out than in."
I couldn't help but laugh. Indeed. Better to have a story such as this out on the page rather than twisting around inside me. The ending is a bit . . . dark. But then maybe my Grade Nine self, who was obsessed with Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" back in the day, was finally being given the chance to play.
This story arose from a moment I observed while lingering outside a church where a recital was taking place.
A young man was walking toward the church, his eyes fixed on a young woman moving toward him. She didn't see him or, if she did, she didn't acknowledge him. Their paths crossed and I saw his shoulders slump as he moved past her into the building. The look on his face as he approached her stayed with me for a long time -- so vulnerable in its hopeful yearning. Who was he? And who was she to him? This is the story that unfolded from that wondering.
I shared this story with someone who thought the protagonist seemed very naive. She's probably right. Although, in my mind, this is set a few decades ago when suits and dresses were more commonplace (at least in the city) and a big boat of a car was normal. A time before social media's insidious fingers tainted everyone -- but especially our children -- with a patina of 'sophistication' before time had a chance to forge character or real wisdom.