Posts Tagged ‘water landing’

In the long, painful process of submitting queries to agents and short stories to magazine editors, it would be nice if the feeling of success were ever clear-cut.  Black or white, unambiguous.  I tell you: it ain’t so, my people.

Last year I had a very nice string of acceptances from a variety of magazines: five short stories and one essay. Among those was an acceptance from Karamu, the venerable literary magazine out of Eastern Illinois University. When I told a former writing prof, G.W. Clift, about the acceptance, he made a deeply disgruntled sound and said, “I’ve been trying to get them to publish one of my stories for almost forty years.”  Of course, I was pleased, but uncertainty quickly reared its ugly head.



In addition to being venerable, Karamu is also quite old-school.  It’s a traditional print magazine that still processes all of its submissions correspondence through the post.  They have a website, but it hasn’t been updated in years.

As opposed to the rapid-fire communication via e-mail, correspondence via post is much more leisurely, and in that leisure-time, doubts can arise.  I submitted the story in question–Water Landing–in September of 2007.  In March 2008, I received notice of Karamu‘s interest in publishing it, to appear in the Spring 2009 issue.

In the intervening year between acceptance and the arrival of my contributor’s copies, I conceived a monstrous terror that the story just wasn’t “any darn good,” to borrow one of Clift’s phrases.  Every time I thought about the impending publication, I got a knot of dread in my stomach.  I tried to steel myself for inevitable humilation.

Yesterday, my contributor’s copies arrived.  If I had a spouse who was willing to read my work, I would have foisted off the job of opening the magazine and seeing my own personal horror splattered across the page.

Instead, I put it off for several hours, still fretting.  When I finally dared to open up the issue, I was relieved to find that the story was better than I feared.  Better than I remembered, even.  In short, my anxiety was nothing more than a terrible, year-long nightmare, from which I have now awoken.

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