Posts Tagged ‘short story submission’

“Dear Carmen”

May 31, 2013

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.


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.


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.




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

Short Stories

July 24, 2012

I un-earthed a few short stories today as I was sorting through some of the stacks of notebooks and folders I have.

Here is one of them:


Jennifer slid out of bed quickly before Mark could wake up.  She padded to the bathroom and climbed into the shower.  The hot water woke her quickly and she smiled up into the cascading water thinking about making breakfast for her man.  They had only just moved into the new house after a too short honeymoon; this was their first weekend home together before work started up again.  Jennifer wanted to make sure everything was perfect, she had even done a little furtive grocery shopping when Mark was not looking to make sure she had all the ingredients for his favorite breakfast.

It was still early and the sun was just breaking across the tops of the windows, a pearly soft grey that shot shivers across her arms, rapid goose bumps of anticipation.  She could already see the tree limb where Mark was going to hang a tire swing for the boys, and the corner just adjacent, that would bet he ideal spot for a sandbox, maybe even a teeter totter.   She giggled quietly to herself; maybe she had just better focus on breakfast rather than the non-existent babies she had not born yet.

Jennifer ground up some coffee beans in the hand grinder her grandmother had given her as a wedding gift–the same grinder that her grandmother’s grandmother had passed down when she had gotten wed.  They had been given a lot of high-tech gadgetry by the partners at Mark’s firm, but she wanted to make that first pot of coffee in her new home the old-fashioned way.  As she milled the beans she looked out the kitchen window, the sun rolled across the deep green lawn and there it was, the outlines of her future garden.

Thoughts of crisp summer green beans, warm tomatoes just off the vine with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, corn on the cob with butter, ran through her head.  Saliva pooled in her mouth and she laughed again.  This house was so wonderfully perfect.

Maybe she could even convince her grandfather to let her in on some of the secrets to his vegetable garden.  Jennifer knew that he got most of his seeds from a boutique catalog out of Atlanta, Georgia.  She had to wheedle this information out of him.  Oh, and yes, she must ask for some raspberry canes to cultivate too.  She would have warm sun ripened raspberries with cream, sprinkled with sugar, in a white ceramic bowl, just like the ones she used to pick with her grandmother.

Coffee now gently perking she started sifting some flour to make cinnamon rolls.  Mixing the flour, salt, and water together into a small trough she then kneaded it for just a moment–she did not want tough rolls.  She tuned on the oven to let it preheat and left the dough in a bowl covered with a  damp white kitchen towel to let it rise.

While the dough was rising and the oven heating she mixed together powdered sugar, and microwaved a small dish of butter to mix into the sugar, then she added a splash of cream and some good Bourbon vanilla to make the icing.  She greedily licked the spoon while absent-mindedly looking out the kitchen window again, a smile curving the planes of her face, when Mark slid up behind her.  His hands still cool from sleep slid up underneath her shirt and cupped themselves against her breasts.

She shivered and leaned back into him without saying a word.  His hands quickly warmed to her temperature and their skin became as one.  He nuzzled her neck and slowly turned her around to him.  Jennifer dipped her finger into the bowl of icing and put it to his mouth.  He sucked it off slowly looking into her eyes and then kissed her.  The sweetness overwhelmed her and she stretched up on her tip toes to wrap her arms around his neck.

Mark scooped her up and settled her onto the lip of the porcelain sink.  His hands were moving up the flank of her leg, when she suddenly looked up, startled by the sharp acrid smell of something burning.  “What’s burning?”  She thought with alarm.

“Mark, Mark, wait, something’s burning,” she said, pulling away from his embrace.  She looked at the counter and saw the bowl of dough, she had not put the rolls into the oven yet.

“Mark!  Something is burning!”  She repeated herself and slowly began to wake up, the walls encroaching in, the gray of dawn bleeding into the tiny room they had rented the night before in a single room occupancy “hotel” the night before.

“Mark, god damn it, wake the fuck up, ” she cried, shoving his cold hand off of her thin leg.

Her kit was laid spread out on the wobbly bedside table, the Gideon bible beneath it, smug in its drawer.  “That is odd,” she thought to herself, it should not be there.  They had finished off the score and wrapped her kit back up before nodding into oblivion.

Jennifer suddenly realized that the hot plate was on and there was a can of soup on it whose paper wrapper had caught and was smoldering, sending up curls of smoke into the air.

“Fucking hell, Mark!  What were you thinking, you ass, you could have burned the whole fucking place down!”

Jennifer slid shivering out of bed, unplugged the hot plate and dumped the remnants of some flat Pepsi onto the burning can.  She turned around to crawl back into bed where Mark lay curled, rubber tubing still tied off his right arm, his eyes rolled back into his head.

“Mark,” she whimpered, “Mark?”

The grey light snaked its way across the bed.  She pulled off the tubing, arranged his  arms around her and tried to find some warmth, something of his cinnamon scent to fall back into.

Sleep, she shivered, tremblingly adjusting his stiff shanks against her body, just need to sleep, everything will be all right if she could just fall back asleep.

The End.


Not bad.  Not great.  Needs some work, which I can see after typing it in here.  I don’t know where the original is, but I think I may make something of this.  And yes, I will submit it somewhere.

There’s another I found as well, and I really like it, perhaps I shall post it tomorrow.  It feels really wonderful to begin the sorting out process of my work.  I want to get as much of it online as I can and as much into my computer before I go as possible.

And perhaps, just perhaps, get some things published outside of my blog.

Just perhaps.


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