School’s out for summer! Back in June of 1972, I never would have believed that I would see Alice Cooper singing his anthem of teen rebellion with a bunch of muppets? But look!
I’m just enough of a rebel to kind of like this, even as a teacher of English, although I don’t think anyone has ever exactly seen me as a typical English composition teacher. I know I haven’t.
And yet, I might be more ordinary than I like to think because I can’t stop writing and revising and editing. That’s why I’m here at the computer on my first official work day off for the summer — writing.
Yes, it is going to be a writing summer that’s for sure, and I’m starting it out with a bang! First of all, later this week I will attend the Looking Glass Rock Writers Conference at Brevard College. My instructor is Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Jane Smiley. I’m, to put it mildly, stoked.
Secondly, one of my stories is officially on sale tomorrow in an anthology put out by Bottom Dog Press called Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South. I am pleased that this story, “I Have Not Yet Returned,” about a young woman coming to grips with her father’s mental illness, has finally found a home.
The process from writing to publication, or being accepted to writing residences, has never been easy for me. I was doing some rough calculating in my head, and I have published about two dozen stories in print and online publications since I have started seriously seeking publication. Sounds like a lot until you consider that I sent my first work into the world in August of 1995–24 pieces in 22 years and hundreds, yes hundreds, of rejections in that time.
Listen to me. I sound like I’m bragging. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I should. 22 years of being mostly rejected, but not always, 22 years of not giving up on my dreams of being a writer, has made me a better one. Failure has made me a better teacher, too, even a better person. Not always failing has helped me to survive the process.
What I have learned about persistence has been invaluable to me as a writer and a person, and it is the attribute I most want to pass on to my writing students. Our society makes giving up so easy, why should anyone persist? I can tell them.
I have 24 reasons why.
Because I value so highly what I have learned through seeking publication, I am now accepting submissions for my own literary publication–Teach. Write. It is specifically targeted to English composition instructors, any level, whether actively teaching or retired. Submissions are open now until July 1. The first issue will come out in September. Complete submission guidelines can be found at this link: Teach. Write.
I look forward to reading your work! Have a writing summer!!