Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.
Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Rejection, Dejection, Perfection!
A couple of writer friends long ago told me that if they'd been rejected when they sent out their first story, they would have been too discouraged to continue to submit. I mentioned this to a realtor friend who started to laugh. He said, "That's ridiculous. I get turned down every day. But if I stopped showing houses, I'd never make a sale. You just smile and move on to the next potential customer."
I remember, too, my late husband's favorite motto, "Never, ever give up."
So I keep a little orphanage in my stories file. Here's where all my poor rejects dwell. Periodically I see a call out that reminds me of a story that's languished in the orphanage for years. That's what happened when I saw that the Writers Abroad group of ex-pats and ex-ex-pats planned an anthology based on a theme of food, drink and cooking from all over the world.
When I lived in Guatemala back in 1990 to 1992 I'd written a story, "The Marvelous Mexican Parsley of West 59th Street." I'd sent it out to some publications at that time, but it never got accepted. A few years ago I resurrected it and sent it out two or three times again. It didn't seem quite right, apparently, for some of the food-related collections I'd hoped would adopt it.
Then this morning I surfed through my junk mail and found a congratulatory note from Writers Abroad that says my piece will appear later this year in Foreign Flavours.
My story actually takes place back in the early '50s in a southwest Los Angeles neighborhood when a neighbor sent us some specially-seasoned chicken soup when everybody in our family had the mumps. I remembered the incident one evening when my old friend and roommate, Kelly Presley, and I returned from an evening at one of our favorite Antigua eateries where we'd feasted on caldo de real. I'd recounted the incident from my childhood and Kelly urged me to write about it.
Kelly died a few years back, so I'm disappointed I can't share my good news with him, that this story about cilantro, the popular Mexican herb, finally will see print! I'm delighted that my orphan finally got adopted. Kelly would have been, too. A talented writer, he continued to revise his three unpublished novels until he got too sick to sit long at the computer.