Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two in Two Weeks

After months of deafening silence, I got two acceptances in two weeks and what a wonderful medicine that has been. My computer died last week and the computer man rubbed everything off the hard disk as if doing so did not stop my heart. Since then I've had a terrible pain in my stomach. I'm prone to such psychosomatic illnesses which I have long accepted as the long end of the stick in my genetically predisposed-to-legal craziness family. But now I am magically well. Two acceptances, and suddenly the fact that all of my work for the past two months has disappeared seems not important.

One of the acceptances is so precious as it is for a story that I knew in my heart was good. It was one of those times when you sit down to the computer and begin to write and two hours later you have a story that is finished. Absolutely complete. You'll change only a comma, a single word, nothing else. It came out as it was meant to. Despite my heart of heart's knowledge that the story was good, it got rejected. Not once but three times. Compounding that, I gave it to a woman in my now dead writing group and it caused her to become very angry with me. She questioned the truth of the story, saying I was taking South African history and plopping it down in Zimbabwe. It deals with racism from a young white girl's perspective. At the time I just thought she maybe didn't know about Zimbabwe because, of course, apartheid was alive and well under Ian Smith and white 'Rhodesians', as many still insist on being called, are some of the most racist people I've ever had the unhappy experience of meeting. (To qualify that, I have also met some lovely white Zimbabweans) Even though the story was battered a bit, I still knew it was good and I stood by it.

I always tell writers that I meet that if you know a story is good and true, rejections are not important. It means that the editor of that magazine either didn't like it or couldn't find a place for it. Shrug it off and find another market. Eventually it will find a home. Now my advice has worked for me, and isn't that nice?

8 comments:

Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Congratulations! Good advice too. So where is the Zim story getting published; it sounds very interesting and I would love to read it.

Lauri said...

It will be published in Cezanne's Carrot I think they said in autumn which I believe is for the northern hemisphere.

Thanks for you kind words Emmanuel.

Petina Gappah said...

Congratulations, Lauri, like Emmanuel, I look forward to reading it, have a very strong interest in Zim:):)

Lauri said...

Hi Petina- Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by. Congrats to you on your fantastic news. I heard we're to keep it on the down-low but I'm not the best at keeping secrets especially good ones. I see a blindingly bright writing future for you...

I'll let you know when the story's out, perhaps not as political as you would like more the effect of the historical sadness of Zim on the individual lives of people.

PG in Geneva said...

I am not sure what you mean about keeping my big news on the down-low, the news has been up on my blog and splashed all over other blogs and the internet!! It is certainly not a secret.
I look forward to your story; but please note that the fact that I want certain things for my country does not mean that I read, write and appreciate only stories that are "political":):):)

Lauri said...

On OW, we were told it is still a bit of a secret, maybe we were misinformed. Anyway, congrats!

Selma said...

I am delighted for you. You give excellent advice. Hope I get to read it sometime.

Lauri said...

Selma when it's up I'll post the link to the story. Thanks for your interest.