Weekly Photo Challenge – Split-Second Story
Erma Bombeck has always been one of my favorite writers. I admired her humor, her common sense, her faith, her ability to tell the truth but be kind, her ability to laugh at herself.
This year I entered the Erma Bombeck writing contest with what I thought was one of my best pieces of work, “The Longest Journey Begins with a Screaming Toddler”. It’s the only one that has made my entire family laugh (they are a tough bunch). I do most of my writing between 3 and 6 a.m. (it’s the only time of my life not already allotted to work, a show, or whatever other obligations surface. The night before deadline I was re-writing for the eleventy-thousandth time and wondered if I should send it. I loved it, but would they?
I asked Erma “What do you think?”
In my mind’s eye I could see her nodding and giving a thumb’s up. So I sent it.
And it didn’t even make the top 5.
I thought about sending it somewhere else, but my confidence in that piece, in my ability to write, in myself was shaken. I don’t get rejected very often, and I don’t take it well when I do.
And then yesterday I received a gift. I wasn’t expecting any feedback. I hadn’t asked for any. They hadn’t offered any. I don’t normally ask for it. I was an editorial assistant long enough to know that one person’s New York Times best seller is another person’s “I wouldn’t read this if it was the only book on the island”.
For the past few months I’ve been thinking that piece sucked. It must have sucked or it would’ve made the top 5 (never mind that contest had many, many entries from all over the world).
It didn’t suck. The judge said so. Erma said so. I said so. My family loved it (my toughest audience).
My mood changed entirely. I wrote them a “Thank you for the feedback” letter and put it on my calendar to enter in 2016.
And in my mind’s eye, Erma clapped and smiled.
For more on this challenge, go here.