This summer, the VCU Journal Blackbird accepted one of my weirder little stories - which was incredibly exciting, and kind of a happy ending after one of those publishing stories I'm starting to learn are pretty common. I'd gone to a conference last year that offered a "speed-dating" session with editors of literary magazines from the Philly area. Showed my story to one guy who said he loved it, said send it to him and his colleagues with a note saying we'd met and he'd publish it. Which was amazing! I was really excited! I sent it off and didn't hear for six months when I suddenly got a generic rejection from them. ARGH. Total depression. I had a bit of a wallow, then I looked the story over, did a little editing and sent it to Blackbird. Which I knew was a stretch. But they took it! Hey Mikey! And I did a little dance, and I updated my CV, and I had my daughter take a pretty decent picture of me for the because they requested it and sat back to await the publication which the editor said would be in either November or May of next year.
And I'm feeling good. It's a great journal - highly respected and to be honest I kinda can't believe they wanted my weird little story and so even though I'm excited, I have to admit, I'm still waiting for someone from Blackbird to send me another email - something like - we're so sorry we got your story confused with that of a much better writer and we're actually passing on this -
THEN - I get this email: Thank you for your contribution to Blackbird. In order to process your payment of $200 for the publication of...
WHA!? They're paying me?! I didn't even know that was a possibility.
I'm pretty used to being paid in contributor's copies. Come to think of it, I'm pretty used to being paid next to nothing for just about everything - I do a lot for free. And adjuncting isn't exactly making me rich. I've never been a girl with particularly high self esteem, and so I've never really questioned what I've always considered to be my value. Right there - I had to resist writing value as, "value" - you know? As if I don't even deserve to write about myself and value in the same sentence. And it's stupid. It's stupid because it keeps me down, and it keeps me from working, and it keeps me from having fun with the work when I'm doing it.
It's not going to be easy - but this week, I'm willing to raise my value from nothing to $200 bucks. That seems manageable, at least until the next set of story rejections.
While I write I've been listening to:
Every Minute in Paris, David Cohen