It’s a helluva thing to see your first story published, a helluva thing to be paid, even modestly, for your words. I've been told by those "in the know" that publication elevates the writer to status of author. Even if your story's a short, short one.
I don’t have the skills to humble-brag about the things I’m most proud of. When I got the news last fall that my first short story, a piece of flash titled “Simple,” would be published by Orca: A Literary Journal up in Seattle, I wanted to shout it from the virtual rooftop. Still, in a “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched” moment, I decided to wait until it was real to tell anyone other than teachers, close friends, and my mom.
The journal came out just as the world closed in. It felt absurd to mention it at all in light of the virus. Then, like many (most?) of us in the first many weeks of the pandemic’s spread across the U.S., I became internally unmoored, hurled far from the normal gravitational pull of life and flung onto some strange moonscape. It took weeks to crawl back and weeks more for the dizziness to stop.
I’ve since sent a copy of the journal to mom and showed it off to my writing workshop group. On occasion, I've thought about posting it to Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, but in the grand scheme of things, these 1,000 words don’t really seem to have a place in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and right now, we are an appropriately needy world. The basics deserve our attention, and for those who have the bandwidth for words, the choices are already vast.
“Simple” is a good story, and I’m so proud of it. I’m sure I’ll get around to sharing it loudly and proudly on those platforms where someone might notice if/when the seas calm.
In the meantime, I owe great thanks to the staff and editors of Orca for choosing “Simple” for their Winter/Spring 2020 journal. Thanks to Sidney Brammer’s flash fiction class (and all my ACC teachers). Particular thanks to my workshop group for making it stronger.
And if you’re a fan of short stories and literary fiction, you can order your own copy any time—hard copy or .pdf—and support small literary presses while you’re at it. You’ll find the story at the very end of to volume, a period to this collection that makes me even prouder.