“Rejection letters are badges of honor.” That’s a favorite slogan at Writers of Kern. We celebrate rejections because when writers receive rejections, it means they are writing -- and submitting to publications.
Recently, some of those responses have been "Yes."
Over the years, I’ve amassed a body of work -- short memoir pieces, poems, personal essays, and snippets of possible stories. And lately I’ve been trying my hand at fiction. I’d had pieces published before I became “serious” about writing, but submitting my work for consideration didn’t happen much until 2015. That’s when I gathered the courage to dust some of these pieces off, polish them up, and send them out into the world.
The result has been affirming , gratifying, and exciting. Published in print and online journals, my work is being read by an even wider audience.
It took some prodding and encouragement. The taste of acceptance came when the online journal, Yellow Chair Review , picked up my first poem, “Talk,” for its Inaugural Issue in May 2015. That sent me scurrying to my computer and practice notebooks to look for more poems. At the beginning of this year, Scarlet Leaf Review published my first fiction piece, “The Blessing,” and a few months later, several poems.
Sure, I’ve received rejections -- and wear them with pride. But, remembering those decisions are subjective, I may rework the piece, ask for help from my critique group, or just send it out to the next publication I think might accept it. It’s a matter of persistence and luck. Writers must connect with the journal whose style and subject matter fit with theirs.
Since I’ve been putting my work out there, this spring a number of Acceptance letters flew into my Inbox. Most recently, a flash fiction piece called “King of the Playground” was published on a local online zine site, The Kit Fox. My poem, “Porcelain Smile,” went up on Bitchin’ Kitsch. And, arriving in my US Mail box, was my contributor’s copy of the 6th In the Words of Womyn (ITWOW) InternationalAnthology with my poem, “When Did I Get Old?”
In April, I was honored to write two poems and read them at the California State University, Bakersfield library along with a dozen or more other local poets. This event was one held to celebrate National Poetry Month. Students, faculty, community members, and Don E. Thompson, Kern County’s first ever poet laureate, read their poems on the subject of Drought. Organizer, professor Matt Woodman designed a beautiful keepsake chapbook containing all the poems.
Because these poems and stories got out, rather than remain stashed in their file folders on my computer, my life has become even more rich. Not with money, of course, as most of these journals do not pay, or pay very little. But rich with the knowledge that my words are being read and folks are enjoying or relating to them. That’s a great feeling, a good reason to continue to write and submit my work.
~ xoA ~
|YCR's first anthology included "Talk"|