Sweet Sign: Thank you OWT!
This year, I made a couple of resolutions, including one to take resolutions seriously. I vowed to take a disciplined approach to creative writing, the same way I do when training for a big race. That meant deactivating my Facebook account, getting up regularly before 6 a.m. to write, attending at least one writing group a month, creating this flippin' website, and submitting my work.
One of my favorite movies of all-time is Raising Arizona, the story of a married cop (Edwina) and convict (H.I.) who create a family with a stolen quintuplet from furniture tycoon Nathan Arizona. Is it a story about resolutions? Not really. But there's a scene where two friends of the convict hold up a gas station. They tell the attendant to stay on the floor and count to some ridiculously high number; they will come back to check on him to make sure he's counting. At some point, the attendant says, "Aw, bullish--!" and pops up, only to see the convicts speeding back to the station.
Six months into my slew of resolutions, I hit that moment of "Aw, bullish--!" as the emails kept coming to notify me with great tactfulness that my submission didn't make the cut.
On a late Monday night, after a three-plus hour traffic class I paid dearly for to avoid a steep rate hike on our car insurance (another story for another time), I got an email from Online Writing Tips announcing their "longlist" a.k.a. semi-finalists in the 2018 Online Writing Tips Short Fiction Prize Longlist. I opened it fully expecting to read another nice rejection note. Instead, I scanned the list of 70 names that made the cut from 600+ entries and found Zajac at the bottom of the list. Woo-hoo!
Thank you OWT for the encouragement and validation. It came at a time when I needed it. Told with dark humor, my short story submission focuses on a family dealing with Alzheimer's. Congratulations to the 69 other writers who took the time and effort to put their stories out there, too. I'm excited and honored to be among them.
Like the gas attendant, I'm getting right back down, only with more joy and determination than he had.