Thursday, August 18, 2011

[August 18th] First Sale: What does it mean?

I'm going for a simplistic piece. I'm a writer. It's me and the words.

Last Saturday, I’ve hit a milestone in my path [‘career’ sounds too presumptuous at this point] as a writer. My dark fantasy short story “Hurricane Drunk” has been accepted by the editor of Arcane Magazine for their second issue. Writing these words still feels a bit weird. I’m used to the rejection routine; send a short story and receive a rejection.

I literally had to reread the acceptance email to understand that I’ve done it. I’ve sold a story. To a magazine [awesome one at that]. A paying venue. It’s a simple thing that has happened. Someone said yes [though not just anybody, I always aim high]. Yet, this ‘yes’ resulted in a complicated emotional response. At first I roared [though in reality I probably sounded like a squeaking rodent, which found cheese heaven], I felt as though I have conquered the world. It still does.

Publication. One word and a thousand victories attached to it. It’s saying, ‘yes, I’ve been paid to have my short story appear in venue X,’ to the people, who ask ‘have you sold anything’ and try to belittle your craft. It’s receiving appreciation. It’s verification that you can do it. It’s the hope that this is just the beginning and that if you invest further, you may reap more. For me publication has an additional meaning.

It means that I’ve crossed the language barrier. It means that I get to slay my greatest fear in the face. Writing in itself is hard. Crafting stories in any language challenges the mind and has no exact regulations other than the obvious grammatical ones. Writing in a language that isn’t yours raises the bar and makes it ‘nigh impossible’ to an artistic soul with a paranoia [*clears throat*].

All the rejections I’ve received whispered to me ‘the editors can sense that you are slipping on a skin that is not yours; they can tell; they know and they will not have none of that.’ I don’t live in an English speaking community. I have no sense of how the language is spoken on a day to day basis. I’m not immersed in the cultural undercurrent connected to the language. How am I supposed to recreate the authenticity of the language, if I’m not exposed to it? This is the question, which burrowed between the lines of every paragraph I wrote.

I understand that I’m fretting over technicalities, but a story can’t live on a ramshackled stage. It doesn’t work, when the writing itself ejects you from what’s going on the page. This first sale proves that all my love for the English language comes across in my sentence structures and word choices and equates me to other writers at least on a technical level [bearing in mind that every writer has his/her unique voice].

What the first sale isn’t, is a law that states that from now everything will be fine and dandy. As people say, it’s easy to get published. It’s hard to stay published. The first sale is a promise of what may happen. Whether it does happen or not depends on the individual. Needless to say, I’ll work towards establishing my name in a niche. It seems possible, now that all doubts and fears are slumbering in their cave.