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The Story of a Story
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About a hundred years ago, maybe back in 1995, I came home from a writing workshop.  I'd been gone a week.  My younger son was only 7, but instead of falling into all their open arms, I headed right to my computer and wrote a story, the spine of it coming together in less than an hour.  By then, they'd had enough of me finding myself and it was time for me to make dinner.

I worried and worked that story for a while, and then in the hubris of a young, untried writer, I sent it to The New Yorker.  And get this:  Fiction editor Bill Buford wrote me back, in his own hand, and told me--you are on the edge of your seats, aren't you?--that the story while brillaint was too slight.  He then told me to send my best work to him.

Damn, I thought.  That was my best work.  I still have that note, somewhere, my call to write, to arms, to keep telling a story.  About three years later, I started my first novel and someone did want to publish that.

So my story--a tale about a college girl and her study of lines--just sort of hung in my C drive.  Occassionally, I'd work on it, bring it out, dust it off, have another go.  This year during a lull, I did the same and then ran it through a short story writing class I was taking. 

Now lest you think I'm about to tell you The New Yorker just bought it, be still.  This is no fairytale.  However, Spaces Random and Intentional is now appearing in Toad The Journal, and that feels just fine to me. Finally, after 17 years, the story found its home.

Click here:  http://toadthejournal.com/issue-13/jessica-barksdale/

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Congratulations, teacher! Your energy and passion for writing are as strong as ever.  I envy that and wish you all the best success with this and future efforts.  Keep trying the New Yorker.  You'll convince them soon.



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Thank you, Christine!  Never

Thank you, Christine!  Never give up is my motto. I'm not holding my breath for The New Yorker, but who knows!  All I need is another 17 years.