Something Wonderful: Someone has pulled me out of the slush pile this once.
“I love life even when bad things happen to me. I can’t stop loving it. Every season of the year comes with a promise that something wonderful is going to happen to me someday.”
— Judith McNaught, “Something Wonderful”
No, this is not a book review. Something Wonderful was the first Judith McNaught novel I read. Since then she has become one of my favorite romance authors. I will not go into any detail about the book; I just loved it. Everything about and in it. I still love it. Read it if you haven’t yet and believe that something wonderful is definitely going to happen to you someday.
Something wonderful is happening to me this first week of July.
And I still can’t believe it is happening, nor I ever expected it would happen—not for the longest short story I’ve written so far this year. All right, here are the wonderful things that are happening to me now.
Rosé Has Finally Found Her Canadian Home
That night on June 5, I was studying and practicing a bit for a series of job interviews the following day—editing is my professional job, and I was looking for a new job—when I got a Gmail notification. It said that The /tƐmz/ Review, a literary journal based in London, Ontario, was accepting my story Rosé for publication in their fourth issue. The thing about short stories is that the shorter the story the better and the higher the chance—if there is any in the first place—that an editor will love it. That is why there is the cutting back phase in short fiction writing. After you’ve written your piece, you’ll set it aside for weeks or so, and then you’ll go back to it for revision (editing, proofreading, and trimming down). In my case, this is when I have to decide for a specific word count limit. If you are writing intended for a particular publication, then you will also have to do this. I usually limit the length from 3,000 to 4,000 words. Right now, Rosé is exactly 6,871 words, and it has yet to go through a publication process. The word count may differ when it is finally up on the Web. Going back to the Gmail notification from The /tƐmz/ Review, I couldn’t believe the message because of all my stories, it was Rosé I thought would be the hardest to get published. Some publications that allow writers to exceed the word count limit say that the extra words must be brilliant they can’t put the story down and back to the slush pile. And so I was exquisitely excited. Before I could ever send my confirmation to The /tƐmz/ Review, I was already telling people on social media that the longest short story I’ve written was going to be published by a Canadian literary journal. The editor from the said publication said that it would be published around the last week of July. It can be read on their website, but there will be an ePUB version for the issue. I’m still exquisitely excited. I mean who won’t be in my shoes?
A Nosy Parker Has Bolted and Found His Home
In the morning of June 6, I was unstoppable. I gained attention from my friends on Facebook because I posted a screenshot of the opening sentence of the editor from The /tƐmz/ Review, telling me about publishing my story. Remember that that was the day of the job interviews, but I chose to forget about them and focused on replying to flattering comments—I am not one to ignore a single comment. Actually I already set aside the job interviews after I received the acceptance letter from The /tƐmz/ Review that night. I was delightedly replying to an excited comment when I got another Gmail notification. It was from 101 Words this time. Yes, that 101 Words. That 101 Words that started this whole thing, my literary journey and all … I held my breath. I had sent my micro-fiction Time to Dash Off to 101 Words 28 days before. Unlike what I felt about Rosé, I was confident that the piece was going to get published. And I was right. The acceptance message was flattering. But the editor refused to use the title Time to Dash Off because it gave the story’s ending away. I agreed. And I admitted I sometimes suck at making titles. And so the title of the piece became Nosy Parker. The editor allowed me to come up with another title, and that was the result. Nosy Parker sounds like a person’s name, right? But I love it nonetheless. I think the editor likes it, too. Nosy Parker is tentatively up on Monday, July 9.
Why 101 Words still?
If you are going to ask me this … No. I just want to tell you this. I plan to write more for 101 Words because once again, it tastes your brevity as a writer. My American friend Richard, when I had him read the micro-fiction, said that that’s a lot of discipline trying to keep it within 101 words. And that’s true. A wordy writer like me needs to do this. I write short fiction; I need to hone my brevity as a writer. I am telling you this because I want to encourage you to write short fiction if you have the talent and to start your literary journey with 101 words. There are a lot of other publications that publish drabbles besides 101 Words. You can try them, too, to start your literary journey.
Your Queen of the Slush Pile Has Found Her Home in Greener Pastures
And just when I felt like the two stories accepted for publication could not make my July any more exciting, there was more. As you already know, I was applying for a new editing job. I received the acceptance letter from 101 Words in the morning, and my interviews would start at one in the afternoon. Guess what happened. I was running late, so I took a cab to the company’s building. It was not the time to commute and walk like I was walking on the moon because I’d gotten two acceptance letters. I was serious at getting the job.
I did get the job.
Maybe my excitement about the stories accepted for publication helped me land the job. The company I was applying to is an outsourcing and digital marketing company, and I was able to link the interview topics on website development and product promotion to my own website and my accepted stories. The interviewers even congratulated me. They were happy to know that one of my goals for getting into the company was to learn how to improve my website and promote my stories.
Céline Dion Is Coming to the Philippines! Let’s Make Her Feel Like She’s Found a Home.
If you’ve read my About page, you know now that Céline Dion is my idol. On top of all those wonderful things that are happening to me this July, I am attending the first-ever Céline Dion concert in the Philippines on July 19. I’m including this here because Céline Dion herself is the embodiment of wonder. I don’t want to list here all the reasons why I love her as a singer and as a person because I won’t even be done when this day is over. She’s that wonderful. She inspires me to do anything good in my life. More importantly, she inspires me to write. I mentioned in my previous blog post that my story Concrete Frustrations is inspired by a Céline Dion song called If Walls Could Talk. Listen to it. It’s just beautiful.
Wonderful Things Do Happen
Sometimes wonderful things happen to you as you expect them to, but sometimes they happen when you least expect it. What is important is that they do happen. I honestly didn’t expect for Rosé to find a home that easily. It had been rejected by three other publications before it found The /tƐmz/ Review. It has given me more hope for my other stories. I know they will find a home as well. I know more wonderful things will happen to me. I believe this is just the start. I sincerely thank the editors and readers of The /tƐmz/ Review for pulling me out of the slush pile this once.
Header Image: The Roaming Platypus