Quite often, I get e-mails from writers who have just made their first sale. It never fails to remind me of my own first, a humorous essay I'd submitted to ByLine magazine. “Writing Abroad” recounted the daily trails of being a writer who lives in one country and writes for another. Like this:
“My library is a bus that comes to our village once a week. Try getting your research done in a half-hour. You wouldn't believe how many times I've had to leap off as the bus motored off down the street. Sometimes I have so much research to do, I pack a gross of sandwiches in a sleeping bag and stay aboard. The bus drops me home the next week.”
I had a lot of work out in submission at the time and had gone about two years without a nibble. I had emptied the mailbox, found my SASE, returned from ByLine, and sat on the arm of the couch to read yet another rejection. The check dropped from a dumb hand as I read the acceptance letter held in the other. My wife looked up, our eyes met, and I said, “I'm published!” Always the practical one, her reply was, “How much!” I retrieved the check and read the amount, but it didn't matter. The only thing that counted was the acceptance. What a magic feeling.
So, whenever I get one of those e-mails from one of you (and I just did, of course) I'm treated to a marvelous replay of my own experience. It's one of the many rewards for doing this. I hope all of you have had a similar event, but for those who haven't, I'm rooting for you. And don't forget to let me know!