I won the DarkWinter Literary Magazine First Anniversary Contest which I’m really grateful for and I’m taking a moment to brag a bit and have a celebratory root beer float. This is not my first publication—I had a poem published in DarkWinter Lit previously and it’s a magazine I really enjoy, with great writing, so I hope to have more there in the future. I’m also still so proud to have been included in the Static Dreams anthology, and I’ve had work published elsewhere. I’m saying this at least partly because I had some old friends congratulate me on winning the contest by saying “It must be great to finally be published!”
Of course there’s more to the story. There’s always more to every story. If you’ve seen The Graduate you know that—mild spoiler alert—at the end Ben and Elaine sit at the back of the bus with looks on their faces that clearly say, “Well, what happens now?”
That’s the funny thing about being a writer, or in any artistic profession. I guess it extends even to most professions. It’s impossible to sit still. Although for artistic professions it’s not so much “What happens now?” as it is “What do I do now?”
Also I got the word that I’d won on Friday afternoon but the announcement wasn’t made until Monday. While I was keeping it a secret a friend of mine shared a story of a mermaid statue that’s causing a stir in an Italian town for being “too provocative.”
I said, “Where are her cranial fins? Or her gills? It’s like the artists have never seen a real mermaid!”
My friend shot back, “What do you know about mermaids?”
All I could do was sit there with a look on my face that clearly said, Just you wait… And immediately after that I was watching TV and a trailer for the new live action The Little Mermaid came on.
That’s not relevant to anything I’ve been talking about but it is a funny story and it’s important to never pass up a chance to share one of those.
What is relevant is that it’s a success like this that pushes me forward, that makes me want to do whatever comes next, and whatever comes after that. Billie Jean King said, “Pressure is a privilege,” and it’s times like this that I understand what she meant.
But first I’m going to finish my root beer float.