Monday, December 12, 2011

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Those of you who know me personally -- and, I think, other readers of this blog as well -- know that I am a writer. I usually have one or more writing projects going at any given time. Right now I've got a novel and a short story out on submission, and as of this morning I can add to the list a personal essay about parenting a child who wants to die.

I first started this essay last spring, wrestled with it for a few months, and ultimately crafted 9.5K words, every single one of which I loved. My writing group read a couple of drafts, and they loved it, too. But it was really too long for most journals and magazines. So last week I took out the metaphorical machete and slashed 6,000 words. Ouch. But you know what? Now I love it even more. And this morning I submitted it to a major, major women's magazine (circulation 4 gazillion) in the hopes that they will love it, too.

The odds are certainly against me. But the odds always are sucky when you're a writer. Publishing is not for the faint of heart. I've had a good deal of success at it, but far more rejections than acceptances, that's for sure. Yet I have a feeling about this essay. I think it's my best work yet. So if Major, Major, Magazine rejects it, maybe Major Magazine will take it. and if not, there's always Minor Magazine, waiting in the wings.

I think I'm not narcissistic when I say, The Story of Raising Benjy is a story that needs to be told. Did you know that suicide is the third-leading cause of death in young people aged 10-14?. The National Alliance on Mental Illness ( estimates that each year in the U.S., approximately 2,000 children and adolescents complete suicide -- and of course, many thousands more contemplate ending their lives. Although it’s a problem on the rise, there is not much public discussion about children and suicide.

I hope my writing, in this blog and elsewhere, breaks open some of that silence.


  1. Personally, I loved all 9.5 thousand words, but am equally sure I will love it at 3.5 thousand words, too. It is a beautiful essay and Major, Major Magazine would be making a huge mistake to reject it. Cheers!

  2. Fingers crossed that Major, Major will recognize your artistry as well as your motherly devotion. Good Luck.

    P.S. Hopefully it won't be necessary, but there's always the self-publishing route as noted in this Wall Street Journal article from last Friday.

  3. P.P.S. If they do publish it, make sure you try to keep the electronic rights. ;-)

  4. Fingers crossed!! Your writing is incredible.

  5. Thanks so much, Andrew's Mom!!

    Papa, I've thought about electronic publishing, although so far I've only published in the traditional way. I considered it for the personal essay, and if it doesn't sell I will probably go ahead and do it. Thanks for checking in!

    Anon, you rock! Thanks for your support.