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 (www.nami.org) 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.