"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Found


On Monday, some simple, ordinary things happened. I dragged myself out of bed for an early work meeting. The skies were gray and the rain drizzled. I called a friend from my car while waiting in traffic. And sometime during the morning, a delivery service put thousands copies of a magazine in stands, offices, and on shelves throughout my city and other cities. Another delivery person brought several hundred copies of this magazine to the office where I work.

Then, something extraordinary happened. I took an issue from the stack brought to our office and flipped hurriedly through the pages to find…my essay. In print. In an actual magazine—one that I love and have loved for years. A magazine founded and edited by someone whose writing I love and admire. My essay, The Suitcase, was published.

For the last ten years, I have followed a ritual: on December 31st, before midnight, I always make a list of my New Year’s resolutions. In the first years, the list was long and more than a little daunting. I crammed all my hopes and dreams on a slip of lined paper, each aspiration numbered according to priority. As I look back, there was no way I could accomplish all those things in five years, much less one.

So, as I got a little older and wiser, I pared the list down to 3 or maybe 5 things, more realistic, maybe less daring things. I probably saw the reality a little clearer, and sadly even began to want less—to wish for less.

But every year, without fail, the number one resolution has been: Get published. Somewhere, anywhere.

And then last year, on the eve of putting a painful year behind me, I changed the channels on my television in time to see part of a segment on a local news station about New Year’s resolutions. The advice was this: only have one resolution each year. Otherwise you get lost in the list, and give up on too many goals swimming in your vision, and you accomplish few, if any.

So, the idea was to choose one-the one. The most important thing. And it was the same number one choice from all the other years. Get published. Somewhere, anywhere.

And it has happened.

I don’t completely buy into the fact that narrowing my list down made this happen. But what choosing that one thing did was make me realize of all things, all my hopes and dreams, this was the most important one.

It has been the most important one from a day in third grade when I handed my teacher a story I had written as part of an assignment. She stood next to my desk reading it as she had read all the others. I had watched her walking from desk to desk, breezing through story after story, making corrections or a final red check mark on all the other papers. She grabbed mine with the same movement and then, I saw her face change. I saw her slow down, her eyes following the words. She looked at me over the top of the page, made a check mark with her red pen, and as she handed the paper back to me, told me to come see her when we were done.

She told me my story was good--very good. I had a talent, she said. And from that moment on, she and the other two teachers that worked in my room encouraged me at every turn. They gave me special assignments just to keep me writing.

That moment was when I realized that even at such a young age, this thing I loved to do was more than just the way I passed time or finished a classroom assignment. This was something special, and it made me feel… found…when I felt lost most of the time.

For any writer, getting published for the first time is always a landmark, a celebration. Seeing my essay, my words, my name in print, was definitely reason to celebrate. But it was also a moment of rekindling hope for a dream that I have held close to my heart since that day in third grade. And after years of successes and wrong turns, happiness and sorrow, and ultimately getting lost along the way…a little ink and newsprint has made me feel found all over again.

56 comments:

chandroneev September 3, 2009 at 2:09 AM  

yeah....frst publication is always one of the happiest moments for a scribophile.......i remember my frst piece...it came out in my school magazine and it generated a few reactions...i think the school magazine plays a very important part in the lives of people who love to write.....

jen September 3, 2009 at 5:30 AM  

wow..congrats!
as I've said to you before on the previous comment I leave on your site, The Suitcase is my favorite on your blogs =). You really deserve it!

Karen September 3, 2009 at 7:53 AM  

That's awesome.. congratulations!More to come I hope!...

Butterfly The Christian Barbie September 3, 2009 at 8:30 AM  

wow that is definitely exciting I wish you the best of luck in future endeavors and I pray this isnt your last!!!!

~ Dawn Sparks ~ September 3, 2009 at 8:34 AM  

So well deserved! I can't imagine the excitement you are feeling! Congrats! I love your blog and look forward to your postings!!!!
Dawn

Daphne September 3, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

Kim, I am SO happy for you! I read your post this morning and it brought me tears of joy. Success can be had for those who work hard and do what they love! I think you deserve to change your About Me section from "Aspiring writer" to "Writer"! Congratulations!

Apryl September 3, 2009 at 9:27 AM  

Congratulations! That is amazing! I have been published only in piddly local things, newspapers and such, but it is truly a testament to your craft and ability and love for what you do when you can share it with others.

I read your blog faithfully ince I stumbled upon it, and your 3rd grade teacher was right...you do have talent.

Kudos.

Dimple September 3, 2009 at 9:31 AM  

Congratulations! Your essay deserved to be in print, on paper. Computers are wonderful, but somehow what is there is tinged with an aura of impermanence, unreality. Ink on paper is not like that.

Floridagirl September 3, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

Congratulations! How wonderful to realize a dream.

Steven Anthony September 3, 2009 at 10:02 AM  

amazing! Now that you are "found" I hope you are able to soar high my friend..your writting always inspires the soul, thank you for sharing a bit of your heart with us all:)

Beryl,  September 3, 2009 at 10:41 AM  

am soooo happy knowing that your writing has been published. You're not anymore an aspiring writer because you deserve the title for being one. Hope I would be able to read SUITCASE here. CONGRATULATIONS!! Everything is worth paid..:)

Fresh Local and Best September 3, 2009 at 10:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fresh Local and Best September 3, 2009 at 10:47 AM  

Congratulations Kim! I am very happy and excited for you. I enjoy reading the tremendous depth of thought and insight you give in your writing. Keep up the good working!

Christine

Joanna September 3, 2009 at 11:01 AM  

Congratulations Kim. I'm very happy for you. The Suitcase will be the first of many published pieces I predict. Your writing is immediate and insightful. I look forward to new posts on your blog so much. I always know they'll touch my heart.

Arlin September 3, 2009 at 11:32 AM  

I'm so happy for you. I loved your story. I actually shared it with a couple of my co-workers here in the office. So I'm not surprised you were published. CONGRATULATIONS!

Thunderroad79 September 3, 2009 at 11:53 AM  

Congratulations. That is very exciting. I like how you described writing this way:
"This was something special, and it made me feel… found…when I felt lost most of the time".
That is what writing has been for me since I was very young as well. It was something I just always did and didn't realize I was a writer until I started sharing my poetry.

http://artistroad.blogspot.com
http://lostlivesontheline.blogspot.com

india September 3, 2009 at 12:04 PM  

i knew i was a writer when my story was published in the school magazine in third grade...but it took me 40 years before my writing was published in the 'real' whirled

well done, and keep that fountain pen loaded

Pat September 3, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

From everything I've read on writing, we are writers because we write. We don't have to be published. But, boy that sure feels damn good when we are, eh? Congratulations on a wonderful accomplishment! Sometimes we wonder about where our paths lead us. Your path to California and all that heartbreak led you to this moment. Here's the silver lining. Yes! Pump your fist in the air! You're gonna make it after all! (Cue song from Mary Tyler Moore show.)

Love your blog. Keep writing.

T September 3, 2009 at 2:09 PM  

Congratulations!! This is so exciting! Great blog post, by the way.

P.S. I would love to read your published essay! Is there a link online anywhere?

Eva Gallant September 3, 2009 at 3:17 PM  

So glad for you! I remember reading that on your blog and being blown away, it was so good! Well, I guess I know good writing when I see it--that has been confirmed! Now if I could just produce some!!

Angella Lister September 3, 2009 at 4:55 PM  

How wonderful. I am so thrilled for you!

Leximou September 3, 2009 at 7:20 PM  

Bear is what drew me in, your ability to put to word that which many think or feel has kept me as a follower. Congratulations!

carma September 3, 2009 at 7:51 PM  

Just read your article in Skirt magazine. Wanted to congratulate you on this big accomplishment. I'm guessing your suitcase has probably found a happy new home...

keepin afloat barely,  September 3, 2009 at 8:27 PM  

Congrats Kim - job very well done. Here's to many more to come.

caroldiane September 3, 2009 at 9:54 PM  

Congratulations Kim - all of us who read that piece KNEW it was more than worthy of publication - well done!

Judith September 4, 2009 at 8:56 AM  

Thrilling, Kim! And I know this is just the beginning . . .

cheryl (clee') September 4, 2009 at 11:00 AM  

Congrats! "The Suitcase" was the first thing I read on your blog and IT IS GOOD! You were a writer before you got published, but I know it must feel GREAT to see your words in a real magazine!

I designed a house in high school - and I still think it's a cool house by more educated adult standards, but to see it built would be the ultimate pleasure :)

RMBPcola September 4, 2009 at 1:05 PM  

Very pleased for you. Well done.
rmbpcola.blogspot.com

RMBPcola September 4, 2009 at 1:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kaks September 4, 2009 at 3:58 PM  

congrats!! now u can move on in your resolution to write a book.. the best thing abt it was ..'it made me feel FOUND when most of the times i felt lost'. Precisely the reason y i write. The pen keeps moving, the ink flows and there are no cuttings or errors. Complete contrast to my answer sheets in exams!
All the best to you and loads of love and care.
Keerti

Allie Rose September 4, 2009 at 3:58 PM  

Congratulations! I hope that this is the first of may publications for you.You truly deserve it.Here's to New Year's resolutions!

Goldibug September 4, 2009 at 6:14 PM  

Congratulations! I'm so excited for you! What an accomplishment!

Helen September 5, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

Congratulations!! There is nothing in the world like seeing something of your very own, especially something as personal as your essay was, in print, on paper, in the hands of hundreds of others to enjoy the way you did when you wrote it.

I've only had a few poems published, in things meant for teenaged eyes for the most part, but it didn't make it any less exciting. Does this mean your New Year's Res for next year will now be, "Get published again (because it's such a rush)"?

AccidentalTourist September 5, 2009 at 6:25 PM  

I've only been following your blog for a short time, but I love your writing, and I felt myself tearing up with joy for you!

You go girl! I'm proud! It sounds silly, but it's true. :0}

Joe September 6, 2009 at 1:10 AM  

Congratulations, Kim - just the first of many, I hope. Keep writing.

It was a long time between West With the Night and this one - I missed your stories. I know, just a few days, but for those of us who write, 24 hours is a long time to go between paragraphs. Now all is well with the world again...

Cheri Pryor September 6, 2009 at 8:10 AM  

Let me join in on the "CONGRATS" wagon train. Woo-Hoo!!! Way to go, Kim. I knew as soon as I read it that it was going to change for you. Seriously a wonderful piece.

Now email me the name of the magazine so I can go buy one. lol!!

Cheri Pryor September 6, 2009 at 8:11 AM  

Okay...just read the rest of the comments and I now know the name of the magazine. Where can I get one? lol!

AccidentalTourist September 6, 2009 at 3:45 PM  

Kim - thanks so much for leaving a comment on my humble blog. I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is on leaving thank you comments... reply to you on mine, on yours, send an email... anyway, I'm honored. I feel I am in the presence of greatness!

Oh, and I now follow "Non-Random Thoughts About Thinking" because I found it on your blog list, and Joe Lane knows his stuff!

myquirkyself September 7, 2009 at 3:42 AM  

im glad that this one has been published. I have read your story and I truly like how you write and relate to your audience... well done!

Cherry September 7, 2009 at 4:19 AM  

COOL!!!

Isn't it interesting that the experiences that bring us the most pain also are the things that almost force us to write on a deeper level?

Thanks for sharing your heart.

golddust3681 September 8, 2009 at 12:28 PM  

I loved that blog. It was the first that I've read of yours and have devoured your previous and subsequent entries since. Congrats!!!

I've given you the Super Scribbler award on my blog. So very well deserved.

http://razorbladebrain.blogspot.com/2009/09/you-like-me-right-now-you-really-like.html

Mr. Clark September 8, 2009 at 6:42 PM  

Your blog is flame to tinder for me. My first publication was in a scientific journal and I felt the same way. I really thought I was alone with that feeling of acceptance into the field. You're writing is just so... hopeful and exuberant. Yours is the first blog I've ever followed and now I'm glad I do!

Loredana September 9, 2009 at 10:24 AM  

I am so glad I fell upon your blog under 'Blogs of Note', you're a wonderful writer and I can see why you got published. Congratulations!

Nelda,  September 9, 2009 at 4:21 PM  

Congratulations! Writing is one of the most powerful and wonderful things I could think of doing for a lifetime. Bask in the glow!

Ekanthapadhikan September 9, 2009 at 5:52 PM  

First published work! I can imagine your joy. I too have a book, a collection of short stories (my first and only published work) tucked neatly in my treasure trove.

Trees September 11, 2009 at 4:13 PM  

Hi Kim this is my first time visiting your blog, I found the link in another blog of a friend of mine "Howling Pines". Your writing is excellent and very heartfelt, thank you for sharing your experiences. I shall read your other posts but firstly wished to comment on this one. I felt in some way that my experience was the same although it was not to move permanently. I travelled to Australia to help someone and my family thought I had lost my mind, as I had never met this person. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I write about it in my blog. I definitely will become a follower of your blog and look forward to reading your further writings.

Mindful Munky September 15, 2009 at 6:05 AM  

Your Suitcase blog was what made me a follower. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with us. Congratulations on being published, you deserve it!

Jonathan Brock September 15, 2009 at 2:34 PM  

I read your suit case blog post and
thought it was very good. Congradulation on being published. Did the publisher contact you? It sounds like you found the article your self. I admire your strenght and good luck with your book. Feel free to read my blog at http://jonathanbrock.blogspot.com

gegeh October 3, 2009 at 5:34 AM  

Wow!!! you're really an inborn writer... after i've read "the suitcase", I started to idolized you Kim. How I wish I am as good as you.
I'm 22 and during my younger years writing was one of my past time.But now, I am so helpless for I can't even start to make a short poem. I don't know what happen, I hope I could find myself again having a pen on my right hand,a paper before my eyes, and only my wildest imagination is my limitation.

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