Last week I received in the mail a copy of Cold Flashes: Literary Snapshots of Alaska (University of Alaska Press). It's a beautiful anthology that includes photos and short pieces of writing, both fiction and non-fiction. And it includes a very short piece I wrote last year for a contest on one of my favorite sites: 49 Writers. Editor, Micheal Engelhard, saw it there, liked it and asked if he could include it in the anthology. I was surprised because I'd written it for fun, stretching my imagination to put together what I thought was a humorous story. Other people thought it was funny too, so now here it is in a book on my coffee table. I pick it up, read a story, enjoy the photos and am honored to be included. It's pretty exciting.
On Thursday morning, I received an email regarding a poem I posted here last October. The editor of a relatively new webzine read it, liked it and wants to use it in his publication. Sometimes blog comments are bogus, but I went to the link to check it out. Riders' Collective celebrates all aspects of cycling: Racing, touring, commuting, riding for fun. The editor, Paul, told me he searches the web for stories. One day he thought "How about some content from Alaska?" He did a search, read through some material (he must be very patient) and liked what he found here on Alaska Bike Girl.
I decided, why not share with a wider audience of readers my own view of the cycling experience? Who knows what it will lead to or who will notice my writing? While there's great satisfaction in knowing that fellow cyclists will read it and think: "yes; that's the experience," there's also the idea that it would be nice to make a bit of a living from my writing.
These editors have given me just the kind of reassurance I need to hear now and then: that something I've written is good enough to be published. The feedback tells me to keep plugging away; that if I keep working on small pieces when I am stuck on a larger puzzle, something may come of it. Because sometimes these little fictions and poems come to me when I'm trying to unlock my writer's block or writer's malaise. They're little byproducts I produce while trying to get back on track. Isn't it nice that they can have lives of their own?