For the last six months, my writing has been on hold. On July 20, 2017, I almost lost my left middle digit to a fungal infection that a doctor deadened and lanced. Two days later, it was black—dead, not simply bruised. Doctors’ cautionary comments did not use the word, amputation, but they hinted at it for a month.
My writing life was on hold. Or so I thought.
Up until that time, I had continuously submitted stories and essays for publication or competition in contests. I learned that when writing dwindles or comes to a complete stop, my publication life can continue.
I submitted eleven times this year in hopes of publication. Nine submissions were rejected, but two were accepted. While one is still pending, another chance to publish came unexpectedly.
Timing: Before the injury and talk of amputation
Late June Marfa House’s romance anthology entitled, Love is in the Air, published one of my finest pieces of fiction, “The End of Island Life.”
Timing: During treatment to avoid amputation
A previously published essay, “From Ugly Duckling to Howling Wolf,” was chosen from an earlier Story Circle Network anthology. This year the Network created a new anthology, Inside Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories: Stories from the Story Circle Network with selected pieces pulled from several years’ worth of past anthologies.
Timing: Toward the end of treatment to circumvent amputation
By late October I could proficiently type with nine digits. So I submitted an essay to address my writing life interrupted in a 1000-word article, “Finger Gone Rogue; Novel Gone Mute.” The Story Circle Network accepted the piece for their annual online anthology of women’s voices for members only.
BONUS: In hopes to make something useful come from my tragedy, I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper in early November about the unpredictability of health issues and the need to sign up for health insurance. (This was not in my “literary tally.”)
SUMMARY: Four 2017 publications = one before the injury + three during my injury and recovery (+bonus letter to the editor).
The point? The payoff of continuing to build a repertoire of my work in various places with different audiences?
If we have been faithful to our work and to building a writing résumé, it continues to work for us, even when it appears our writing life has been stalled for reasons beyond our control.