My husband, John, likes to say he is like a duck. He is calm and serene on the surface, and paddling fast under water.
Our lives in the last six years have often felt like that. If you’ve read my posts before, you might have seen some of those stories reflected in blogs like Blue Collar. If you’ve read my published short stories or nonfiction, the “duck theme” is there, too.
For the first time this year, I can stop paddling. I step out of the water. I sit by it, and watch the flow of water fowl go by long enough to see an ugly duckling turn into a graceful swan. Do you ever feel like that?
Before now, I had not taken the time to celebrate or promote the July publication of The Adventures of Elliot McSwean: Save the Red Lights and the second publishing of The Question. I am very proud to have these two stories published by Alfie Dog Press out of the UK because it is a place for children’s stories. It also promotes the purchasing of short stories online, which is hard to find. The market for short stories is tough, but the publishing house took a shot with mine.
I briefly mentioned the publication “The Write Mother” in KY Story‘s Motherlode: essays on parenthood. I guess you would say it is my first essay. “The Write Mother” reflects on first time motherhood and giving up a career in favor of another one.
KY Story has – and continues to – published beautiful anthologies. Last year, the publishing house included my story “When Tomorrow Comes” in its Offbeat Christmas Story anthology. I then began my author page on Amazon, which like the blog, I need to update.
I realize how fortunate I am to not only be published, but to have places like The Copperfield Review and KY Story publish my work more than once. Or, Alfie Dog Press to publish two of my stories. I do not submit many stories per year. In fact I have submitted less than twenty this year, and those entries are about four different stories.
But, 2014 is the first year that I have not worried about will I continue to be published. Two thousand thirteen is a hard year to follow up on in a competitive market because I had three or four publications, and an Honorable Mention in a contest.
This year, I did not send out much promotion – my little newsletter and blog – and I submitted what I could. When I received my contract in the mail for the work I began with my boss last year, I was elated. It is a chapter I co-wrote and researched. When released, it will be my first academic publication.
In my professional and to a degree in my personal life, I do not talk much about being a published author or what I write. Most of my co-workers or friends know little about it, and that is okay. I have separated much of my life into dividers, so it will flow. I think it helps me to write better when I do not discuss my inner thoughts and writings with people. Not to mention, there’s nothing like bursting into a room, and saying, “Hey guys, guess what I did!”
So, why has this duck paddled so hard this year if I haven’t been promoting or writing as much?
I have attended graduate school for 18 months straight while working two jobs. Most of my writing has been academic, but written with the same passion. Some of it, I was encouraged to submit to academic journals, but I chose not to due to the extra time I would need to edit. Even in the summer, I did not have the extra time.
Finally, one day after my final exam, the greatest day of the year happened. You may think “What it’s not Christmas yet.”
I gave birth to my second child, Cora Aurelia-Ann Bridges. My children give a greater sense of peace and inspiration in writing than I’ve ever known.
Now, finally with an entire month off, I can stop paddling and hold both of my joys.