I called her four times (texted twice) to get her to answer her phone. When she finally answers with the obligatory “What?!” that we use in our family, an old joke from an old 80’s movie; I bitch her out: “You know, as my sister you need to answer your phone whenever I call, no matter what. I might need to tell you I decided to wear blue today, or that my car is clean, or that I just got a letter in the mail saying one of my short stories has been chosen for publication in an anthology!”
And there it was. Or more clearly, there it is. Today I received a nice letter and the first part of it read like a typical rejection letter. I sighed as I scanned the note, another rejection letter…wait…what…
In the second paragraph, it said ‘We are pleased’, they were ‘pleased’ someone sent me something and was pleased! I didn’t read much further, I just started jumping up and down, my baby girl jumping with me and laughing, ‘mommy jumping’. I looked at my husband and thrust the letter in his hands and I’m not gonna lie, as a writer who has seen her fair share of rejection as well as acceptance, tears sprang. I got published, in an actual book. Not in a magazine or journal or newspaper, or on-line, but a real live book! Right? I stopped jumping and wiped the tears and went over to make sure I should be getting excited.
“I got published, right?” I ask my husband, he nods and gives me a hug.
The Cabin Literary Center here in Boise is putting together an anthology of stories with the theme ‘Detour’. One of my short stories, Ithaca, was chosen among 21 other stories, and is due out this November. (More details to come.)
I called my sister so someone else would jump up and down with me, after she answered her phone, she jumped.
“That is so cool.” She exclaimed.
“Did you talk to mom?”
“No, she was busy at work, I told her quick but she will have to call me later tonight.”
“Did you call dad?” She asked.
“No, I texted him, waiting for him to call me on his lunch break.”
I hung up from my sister and began to call my closest friends and family. No one answered.
I think it’s one of those Murphy Laws, when good news comes, no one is around to hear it. I think there is a joke in there that involves a tree, but I’m not sure.
So, doing what any self-respecting writer who wants a little more ‘whoo hoo’ would do, I called my sister back.
“What?!” she yelled-answered.
“I got a short story published.” I say.
“That is so cool!”
“I know and no one is home, just you.”
We go on to discuss some of the details that are sketchy that I don’t really have yet. They are working on editing and publication and it will be released this November. There’s going to be a launch party I get to go to.
“So when you go to this…what’s it called?” My sister asks.
“Oh, launch party, sounds swanky. You get to rub elbows with other writers and talk about writer things.”
“That should be fun, to stand around and talk about…I don’t know…Hemingway…and…and…verbs.” I can almost hear her shrug her shoulders over the phone, at a loss for what it is writers would talk about when gathered together.
I laugh. “What?”
“I don’t know what writers talk about, I’m assuming you talk about stuff like Hemingway and verbs….I prefer my characters to ‘hurry’ rather than ‘rush’ about.” She mocks.
I can’t stop laughing, I’ve been in plenty of rooms among plenty of authors and suddenly I can’t recall what it is we naturally talk about. Writing? Sure. Craft? Maybe. Verbs? I don’t think so.
“I don’t talk about verbs very much.” I assure her. I don’t talk about my writing or process with my sister, our relationship revolves around me saying ‘here, read this, let me know what you think’ and her telling me what she liked and what she didn’t like.
“Well, we’re talking about verbs a lot now.”
“No, we’re talking about the word ‘verbs’, we’re not really talking about verb verbs.” I reason.
“Now we really are talking about verbs a lot.” She says.
“I don’t think I’ve ever even talked about talking about verbs this much.”
“Writers.” She laughs.
“Okay, look, I gotta go, I’m going to go write this down for my blog.” I say. But I don’t get off the phone right away because we’re sisters and there is more that needs to be discussed.
We talk about a few more wonderfully boring things: did she leave a burner phone at the house in So. Cal because mom needs a new phone to use for a month before she can get a new one; what month would be a good time to visit; what Pinterest joke really struck a chord the past few days; what’s for dinner; and the final wrap up all ending with another congratulatory ‘whoo hoo’ before we hung up.
‘Whoo-hoo’ indeed; though I prefer my characters to say ‘hurray’.