For months, and sometimes even years, I have sent literary magazines my stories, poems, and essays and have waited for “thanks for submitting, but your work doesn’t quite fit” to come back. I don’t take it personally. I know the majority of those brave artistic enterprises get swamped with submissions. It does bother me when a few say they don’t want me to submit anywhere else while they take their time considering my piece for 6 months or more. Or worse: when they don’t bother to respond in any way at all. At least more and more publishers are accepting work online, so I sometimes get to save the cost of paper, printer ink and postage. And occasionally, there are nibbles. It’s a great day when I receive a personal note from an editor saying “not quite right but…” and a few words of encouragement.
I had beginners luck. In those heady early days, one of my poems was accepted at the very first publication I mailed it to. They even paid me. Not long after, I won a flash fiction prize and had two stories accepted in the same issue. So I figure the dry spells that came later were my fair quota of hard knocks all writers have to go through to sharpen our dedication, build callouses and pay our dues.
I sometimes wonder if a submission will get accepted on the morning an editor wakes after a hot night with their lover, or in tandem with a delicious breakfast, or following an exceptionally good review for an “emerging writer” they just published. Or maybe a positive response comes after nothing more than one sip from a freshly brewed cup of strong coffee. Perhaps the whole publishing business is bigger than all of us– I’ll get a “yes” when all the stars are in the right alignment.
I’d love for that last possibility to be true. A friend of mine told me that on April 4th, the slow-moving planet of Neptune made a shift into my 5th House of creativity, romance and pleasure. “It’s a great time for you to work on creative projects!” she assured me. “Your muse will be moving through you for the next four months in ways you can’t imagine!” And then, even better news– this period is just a sneak peek at coming attractions. Whatever is going on with Neptune in my 5th House will shift into high gear at the beginning of 2012 and stay there for the next fourteen years.
Coincidentally, at the beginning of April, I sent several poems and a flash fiction piece to three different literary venues. Within an unbelievably short waiting period, I received a response from each one. Two out of three want to publish my work– hooray! So today, I’m here to thank my lucky stars. Or should I express my appreciation to the planets? In any case, my recent success certainly has nothing to do with the quality of my writing, does it?