Rallying to Write.. And What Happened

Last June was a busy month for me. I had my port-a-cath surgically removed; we drove to the other side of the state to spend several days with family and I had an emotional visit with my mom as she had deteriorated so much since my last visit. She could not speak, except a loud “NO” when the nurse was attending to her. She just kept gripping my arms, imploring me with her eyes to make it stop. Trying to explain to a loved one with dementia that the nurse had to do what she was doing was a heart-tearing lesson in futility. She didn’t understand.

I was one month into my first summer break from blogging in three years. I had needed time to explore and develop new paths for my writing. Three pieces I submitted to literary journals did not pan out. I was happy, however, when a 2020 post about my first day in the infusion suite was accepted by Story Circle Network. It appeared both on their “A Day in the Life” blog and in their online fall journal.

Women completely run this international organization and they are celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Their mission is to support women writers and share their stories. There is a yearly membership fee which includes access to their content, writing seminars and multiple writing opportunities. I need to add a big thank you here to fellow blogger, Marian Beaman, who first told me about the group. If you don’t already follow her, she is the author of Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl and her site is https://marianbeaman.com/

There were several encouraging emails in May and June regarding The Network’s upcoming 2022 Anthology. They were looking for submissions. The theme this year was Real Women Write: Seeing Through Their Eyes. The deadline to submit stories for consideration was July 1st. Sadly, I wasn’t going to make it. The thought of seeing through my mother’s eyes drifted through my mind, but I simply could not. I could not rally to write about my mom, or anything else. I was tired.

Then, an email came in around July 4th. The Network had extended the deadline until July 15th. This was still not a lot of time, but I didn’t delete the email either.

I had a talk with myself that the whole reason for taking the summer off was for this type of opportunity. But what in the world was I going to write about? In a way, themes are helpful as they force the mind to narrow the possibilities.

I think it was a minor miracle that an idea rose among the dozens of question marks. I went with it. It was a fresh topic; something I have not covered on the blog.

I wrote quickly. If I remember correctly, the word limit for personal essays was 2000. Mine was half that, and that was alright. After sitting on it for a few days, I decided to do it. I hit send. I saw the deadline extension as a sign that I was supposed to try.

On October 2nd, I received an email stating that my entry, “Soaking Up Early Lessons on Ecology” would appear in Story Circle Network’s 2022 Anthology. The editor attached a copy requesting I approve any changes. She noted all edits are based on clarity, grammar, and coherence with the theme. I was fortunate, as it appeared there were maybe two or three grammatical corrections.

It will be available any day now. They assured us it would be ready with plenty of time for holiday shopping.

Although I previously experienced the great joy of seeing my work in print when I free-lanced for a newspaper 25 years ago (yikes!) this is the first time my work will appear in a printed paperback (and other e-book formats.) That’s just cool. It is exactly the type of fuel a writer needs to keep going. My goal was to find growth this year, and I did. It feels pretty awesome. My only hint on the topic I chose lies in the title above. It is about ecology. I’m including a 2017 photo which is not part of the book.

I am looking forward to 2023 and hope to keep following this positive path.


14 thoughts on “Rallying to Write.. And What Happened

  1. So excited for you, can’t wait to read your essay!! You have totally peaked my interest with your picture! So curious to see what it is all about!! Congratulations!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Betsy!!! I love that my photo peaked your interest. 😊 I am eager to see the book, its lay-out and the other poems and essays, I hope it sells well too on Amazon. I’ve learned a lot this year.

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  2. I’m pleased as punch at your success, Melanie. And I’m happy-clappy to cheer you on. Kudos on being published on the the SCN blog and also in the anthology. My contribution will appear in Kitchen Table Stories coming out in a few weeks.

    The only reason I’ve persevered is because of the encouragement of others, and I like to reciprocate. I know talent when I see it, and you have a bright future ahead.

    Huge thanks too for the shout-out here! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ❤️❤️ Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words, Marian! Your steady support has definitely influenced my focus and writing. I am so happy you will be a part of their popular Kitchen Table Stories series when it arrives on Amazon shortly. I should add here to other readers that I read Mennonite Girl, I had a real fascination with the history and culture of the Mennonites as well as Marian’s personal story too. Check it out! 😊 Thank you, Marian, for the recommendation that got me to this place (quickly, I might add!) and for being a faithful reader here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Right on, Melanie! Of course, I’m dying to read your piece. When this happens, I expect a big announcement. (OMG, that sounds just like Donald Trump.🤣) I bet some writers/bloggers feel a tad jealous when someone becomes published. Not me—I’m happy for anyone’s success, and it provides hope that someday a similar thing could happen to me.

    By the way, I’m also a big fan of Marian’s book and her blog. She is a terrific supporter of her fellow bloggers. I’m excited to see her project come to fruition too.

    I’m still plodding along, trying to learn how to write fiction. This is manuscript #2 (#1 is on hold until I solve a few problems). When I finish reviewing it with my critique group again, it’s off to the editor in three months or so. I’ve learned to respect the process, and I’m not going to rush something until it’s ready.

    I’m on board for Team Melanie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A very, very. very big announcement, lol! I’m not sure if you remember, but you recommended Marian’s book to me after I wrote a piece about the Amish! We are all inter-connected here in the blogosphere. 🙂 Thanks for your congratulations, I know you know this feeling because you have “They Call Me Mom” on Amazon and tons of fans who love your insights on teaching! How rewarding is that??? And kudos to head into fiction – 2 stories in development no less! That is a huge amount of work and commitment. Thanks so much Pete, I appreciate your support.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on being part of SCN !!! I can’t wait to purchase and have you sign my copy! The posted picture certainly peaked my interest. Just when you think you know someone 😁😁. Can’t wait to read your story (as always).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pam! Of course, I’m thrilled to be part of a book, but yes, I’m doubly happy that it’s a womens’ organization; I’ll support that every single day. And I’ll try and practice my signature 😂😂. Thanks so much for your support. ❤️

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