Late last summer I wrote a story, "Arrested Development," for a proposed Pinchback Press book, Caught: True CrimeTales of Scamming, Scheming and Sliding By.. Earlier this week I received an email from the publishers that the press was closing down. "This is a difficult letter to send," they wrote. "Independent publishing is a costly endeavor and one we can no longer afford to continue in these tough economic times."
I'd been saddened...first, because I'd so much enjoyed Pinchback's earlier effort, Tarnished: True Tales of Innocence Lost, and that it had included my story, "A Pair to Draw To." I'd looked forward to more books in this series. And second, because I didn't believe I'd get this particular effort published anywhere else. I dashed off an email to my writing partner and confidante, lamenting the loss of this venue...and griping that mine was a such a hard-to-place story, and regretting I'd spent so much time on fashioning it. She suggested I could revamp it, give it a happier spin, but I declined. I'd wrestled with this story, tried to tell it honestly, and didn't think I wanted to tamper with it. I'd resigned myself that it would languish forever in what I call my orphanage, the tales I can't find homes for.
Then, this week I received an email from a Canadian publisher, Inkblotter, that a story of mine, "Elephants Never Forget," would appear in its upcoming anthology collection. Though this story already had been accepted for Seal Press's upcoming Hot and Heavy: Fat Girls Dish on Life, Love and Fashion, I'd sent it to this particular publisher that I suspected might have a different readership. The callout had suggested:
Think “Chicken Soup” with an edge. No gentle epiphanies while strolling on the beach or contemplating cloud formations. We’re looking for in-your-face, kick-in-the-teeth lessons learned—the kinds of stories you’d share with your friends over coffee.
I wrote in my last entry that sometimes it's tough to write about the hard stuff. Sometimes it's even tougher to find an anthology that's looking for material that isn't necessarily cheerful or upbeat. So when I read at the close of the email from Inkblotter that it still had room for a few more tales, I remembered "Arrested Development." I decided it just might fit the bill, and immediately mailed it off. Late yesterday afternoon I learned that this story, too, will be published in the new book, A Cup of Joe for Woe.
I've urged writing novice friends before not to despair if a story fails to make it to print right away. Last year I recounted on this blog, in my September 17, 2011 entry, Rejection, Dejection, Perfection! how "The Marvelous Mexican Parsley of West 59th Place" finally got published 21 years after I originally wrote it. I see I have to remind myself to pay heed to my own advice, and to remember that life, and anthology opportunities, are full of second chances.
Remember that old song....who knows what tomorrow may bring?