“Dear Carmen”

by

We like your writing very much.

Holy shit.

I am getting published.

I knew it was happening, or I should say, I had some suspicions it might.

The magazine contacted me while I was still in Paris and asked me for an author’s bio and a different file format for my submission.

I had forgotten about it.

and would like to publish “The Button Boy”

Wait, did yo say you would like to publish The Button Boy?

You did not.

Wait.

You did!

Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick.

I cannot believe that my first publishing credit (ok, I am going to clarify that, it sounds like I have not been published and I have, The Peacock, also in Paris, published a piece I wrote, but it is a student magazine and I was not a student there, I knew the editor and she needed something in a pinch and I tossed out a little epistolary to accompany some photographs in the magazine, so technically I do have publication credits.  And there is this, my blog, which is published every night, but neither were submitted publications) is a short story.

Not only a short story, but a science fiction short story.

“May I make a suggestion,” my room mate said as I was laying my weary head down on the table top at 36 Rue Bellefond.  I was either beating myself up for not doing enough work, or I was castigating myself around my edits to my book, or I was dying of fatigue from having crammed in a full day of walking the cold, wet, mean streets of Paris, taking photographs and trying to live the idea, the fantasy, of the kind of life I was supposed to live in Paris as a struggling writer.

Where is my tiny violin playing for me right now?

“NO, I don’t want your suggestions,” is what I thought, “sure,” is what I said.

“Well, when you are tired of all this work that you are doing, and I know that it is work, you are putting in a lot of time, doing things in Paris, writing, taking pictures and stuff, why don’t you write something fun for you.”  He said unfurling the scarf from around his neck.

“You know, just write something completely out there, something that has nothing to do with what you’re working on.” He said and stepped toward the stairs, turning on the overhead light.

“Hmm, I hear you, you may be right,” I said.

I was being flippant.

But something dinged in my head.

Something said, he’s got a point.

Do you want to be happy or do you want to be write.

I mean “right”.

“I do have an idea for something, now that you mention it,” I said and he paused foot suspended in mid air.  “I saw something on the Metro the other day that I could not figure out what it was and I suddenly got a line, a sentence, and it’s been stuck in my head now for a week or so.”

“There ya go, buddy, write about that,” then he trundled up the steps and I sighed and went back to editing the photographs I had taken that day, a job in and of itself that took anywhere from an hour to two hours depending on how many I had taken during my walk about Paris.

in the next issue of The Bastille.

“You should come check it out!” She said to me one afternoon as I was rinsing out a tea cup in the kitchen of the Scots Kirk Church, “I go every Monday, it’s a lot of fun, and yeah, there’s some drinking, but most people are pretty chill and there’s some good stuff and I love going.”

I knew what she was talking about, I had seen the flyer for it in the window at Shakespeare & Company on one of my first visits to the famous book store across the river from Notre Dame.

Paris Spoken Word Open Mic.

I googled the event.

I made plans to go.

I did not go.

I had a baby sitting gig.

I got a case of nerves.

I was tired.

I was full of excuses.

I don’t have anything to say.

“Hey, I’m going to go this Monday,” Hannah said to me as we hugged outside 65 Quai D’Orsay.  “You should come, you don’t have to perform, I just like to watch actually, we can just hang out.”

“Ok,” I said, I had begun to see, with the help of someone wiser and more experienced and oh, I don’t know, not me, that I have limited perspective and that I often make fear based decisions and that I need to practice saying yes instead of no.

And fellowshipping is good.

So go.

I went.

I performed.

I got high from the adrenalin of getting on stage.

The lights bright, the faces rapt, I felt caught, captured, held, and I recited “While You Were Sleeping”.

I had them in the palm of my hand and I knew it.

Then, I was hooked.

I went back, I did more poems, I did “Cry Baby” and I did “Into the Pink”.  I read a long free verse poem called “Fevered”  I read an old poem about an old lover that I wrote on a break in between a double at Hawthorne Lane while having coffee at a cafe on Market Street in San Francisco back in 2002.

At one of the Open Mics the MC mentioned that The Bastille was closing down it’s next round of submissions, if you want to submit then go to blah, blah, blah.

I wanted to submit.

I had a feeling that I would get in.

I was feeling cocky and high from the performing.

I did not always nail it, but when I did.

I really did.

“So, I just wanted to let you know, I took your suggestion,” I told my room mate one evening.

“Which one,” he said without breaking a beat.

He had given me a lot of suggestions.

“The one about writing something fun,” I said.

“Oh!  Awesome, good on you,” he replied, settling down at the chair kitty corner from me at the table.  “What did you write about?”

“I actually wrote a short story, a science fiction short story at that, I have never written science fiction before, either,” I said.  “I was at Odette & Aime and I did not feel like I was done yet, but I was finished editing, I did a full chapter, and I read for an hour and I was just suddenly poked to take out my notebook and write something completely different.”

“Good for you!” My room mate exhorted again, then he told me about his day and I zoned out a little thinking about how I wanted to write more of these short stories, how good it felt to write.

We’ll be in touch to let you know when it will come out and to get a free copy to you.

I’ll send them “While You Were Sleeping,” “Cry Baby,” and something else, I thought as I looked over the submissions page.

A little voice said, send “The Button Boy”.

I had put it, the short, up on my blog and my friend had given me a really detailed and lovely response of his reaction to the story just a few days prior.

I never expected that they would choose it.

I never thought, boy, when I get my first piece published it will be for a magazine in Paris and it will be a science fiction short story.

SCIENCE FICTION!

Not a poem, not an essay, not one of my blogs.

A science fiction piece that I was inspired to write because I saw something on a little boys’ head that did not make sense to me, I made up a story to explain the unknown.

This is how Gods are created and constellations and mythologies, personal mythologies, my history.

I can still see that little boy and the gigantic plastic button, which I learned later is a hearing aid, on the back of his skull with a little wire running into the black nest of his short cropped hair.

I can see the car I am in on the Metro and I know where I am going.

And now I know what piece I need to work on next.

But just for this moment, just for today, I get to celebrate this little victory.

I get to bask.

Then back to work.

But for now, the basking.

Bask.

Bask.

Bask.

All the best,
 
David & the rest of the editorial team DSCF5360
Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: