Though I am going to admit this one stings a little. I actually thought I had a shot with this one. When you do contests, or journal submissions you look at archives and see what type of stories they usually accept. Now, I rarely fit their niche. I still submit but I think what I've got fits their theme, or I really like it, or I just need to get three pieces out in to the world and this totally counts...but...usually I can see that my chances are not good.
Most of these places like literature. Things that you feel a little dumber while you are reading them because they are so fancy. Let's be honest here, pretentious pieces. It happens. There are a lot of books out there like that. A LOT. And they aren't my favorite. But they work for a lot of people, obviously, or they wouldn't be published. But I prefer the smaller stories. The characters. The quirky and the odd.
Which is where this latest submission came in. I read a few of their things and though I had some misgivings (I'll circle back) I really thought I had a shot. It's super flash fiction. Fewer than 250 words. Themed. And they were a quirky online journal. Now here is where my misgivings came in. There was a lot on there that seemed quirky for quirkies sake. And a lot that were really boho. I live in Portland, I grew up with the hippies of Albuquerque art scenes I know some boho...but it's not where I thrive. But I still thought, I've got a quirky little story that I think will work really well.
Submitted and waited. And waited. And waited. Now this gets me everytime it happens. A quick rejection is easier. No time to get your hopes up. And in the case of just straight up submitting for publishing (no contest or journal deadline) you sometimes get ZERO response at all which also sucks, but if it's a contest or a journal like this one and you don't hear back and don't hear back and it's getting closer and closer to the deadline you start to get your hopes up a little. Like surely they are passing me up the chain right now marvelling at their great fortune in finding such a new and shining talent!
But, alas, no...I got the rejection today. It was the sweetest rejection ever. Told me how brave I was to submit and how it wasn't me, it was them. See, my story just didn't fit their theme that was all.
Which made me laugh. Because of all the excuses you could give me that I would believe, that wasn't one of them. But oh well...at least it means I got another blog out of this and I think that puts me one away from my goal for this year so that's good.
Oh and their theme? Love letters.
And here is my piece:
She opened the letter and smiled. Then she pressed it against her heart and smiled again. “Someone is happy. What does it say?” Her friend reached out to take the note from her. Reading it. Confused. “What does that mean?”
She smiled even bigger.
When she was a child she used to make up stories in her head about everything around her. Numbers; 7 was in love with 8 but she was in love with the number 9 and would have nothing to do with him so he spent his whole life jealous not realizing that 5 was in love with him. She realized that not everyone did this when she mentioned it in class one day and everyone laughed. It didn’t stop her from making up the stories, but it did stop her from sharing them.
Until she told him that her favorite letters were B and W because they were b and v doubled and mirrored. Two letters that had loved each other so much that they had made themselves in to one letter to be together forever.
“I don’t get it. Just the letter B with a question mark. B? What does that mean?”
She wrote back that day. W!