Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Memorable Events

Lost my first tooth

This is my grandson, Cole, who is celebrating a big event in his life.  He lost his first tooth. The glory of it is that when only two, he fell off a chair and hit his mouth on the edge. When his mom picked him up, she saw that one front tooth was dangling. His other grandmother was visiting at the time and she told Karen to push the tooth back in. Nana held the struggling little boy while Mama quickly put the tooth in place. Hugs and kisses soothed his fears and tears. Next his mother called their dentist who told her she'd done the right thing. Then they had to wait to see if the tooth would hold. It did! Until yesterday when it came out at just the right time. It's a memorable event in the entire family.

That first success in having a story or poem published is also one of the most memorable events in a writer's world. Maybe THE most memorable. I have a feeling if you lined up fifty writers and asked them to tell about the first publishing success they had, none would hesitate for even seconds. That story would be told immediately as it holds a treasured spot in their memory bank. 

I know one writer who got her very first effort published in a national magazine. Her head was awhirl with the future possibilitites, but it was a long time before she was published again. That first time, she happened to hit on a timely subject and had done a decent job in writing the article. She's not the norm. For most writers, it takes many submissions before that first one is accepted. 

My own story is that I sent an article about Kruger Park, a game reserve in South Africa. I'd titled it "A Zoo With No Bars" and I thought it a wonderful article, clever title. Weeks later, an envelope arrived in the mail. Those were the days when all submissions were done by snail mail. I ripped the envelope open to find a short letter from the editor of the young peoples magazine that I'd submitted to. I read the letter and deflated like a pin-pricked balloon. She liked the idea but wanted me to 'energize' the story and resubmit.

I hadn't a clue as to what she meant but I pondered it for several days, then rewrote the nonfiction article as a story with two children visiting Kruger Park with their grandparents, let the reader see it from the children's perspective. She accepted the second submission, and what a thrill it was for me to receive a copy of the magazine along with the check. It was my first publication and seems one of the most important because of that.

How about you? What is the story of your first acceptance? Like Cole losing his first tooth, you will always remember that happy that of your initial publication. And if it hasn't happened for you yet--don't worry, one day it will and you'll have a special memory, too.

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