My first fiction in print was the story “Times I Broke the Rules,” which appeared in ZYZZYVA #54, Winter 1998. That was pretty wonderful in and of itself.
A few months later, after I’d started my new job I received a call from a friend congratulating me: my story was listed as one of 100 other distinguished stories in Best American Short Stories 1999 . I couldn’t get my breath for a moment, I was so astonished. I had no idea.
I told my boss I’d be right back, and drove to Barnes & Noble to get a copy of the anthology before I said anything to anyone. Wow, there it was, in black and white.
I can say from experience that it truly is an honor just to be nominated!
A few years ago, my writing group got tired of hearing “no,” and decided to say “yes” for ourselves. We wrote, designed and assembled this boxed book of flash fiction.
One of our members found out that she had breast cancer shortly after we’d put the publication in motion. I’m so proud of the way the group came together to help take care of her. Each of us stayed with her overnight in rotation with other friends during her chemotherapy. She was dealing with that and weak when we had our big assembly day in her apartment. Nine hours of packing and gluing during which we ran the gamut from excitment through irritation to exhausted satisfaction.
We gave a reading at a local bookstore and sold enough to cover our costs. It felt good to take matters into our own hands.
The writer with breast cancer went through chemo and a mastectomy and is still writing. I wonder now if saying yes to ourselves helped her say yes to getting through her ordeal. It’s good to have purpose.
Okay, I can’t seem to find a before shot, but this slope was completely barren when we moved in 5 1/2 years ago. The cedars on the right, the neighbor’s plum tree and some very burnt yellow grass were the only things alive in this view when we got here.
It took us a couple of years to really tackle this huge job. I’d been living in apartments since leaving my folk’s house and had never planted much of anything other than house plants (except as a kid, with my mom.) We didn’t even use the front door because the dirt or weedy slope was so depressing (it’s about 15×80 feet.) Lots of trial and error later, we love to sit on this side of the house and enjoy the birds, etc on the slope. The star jasmine on the porch posts smells lovely.
I have had my hands on each and every ornamental grass, shrub, wildflower seed, etc on this slope. My husband planned and built the beautiful wall.
Yes, I’m proud of this. We created a lovely space on the planet.