Decision at World’s End

Well, the short story that I wrote last summer is now published at Breath & Shadow magazine.  You can find it here.

(Note: There are some interesting formatting errors, most notably the unintended scene break which came about because the story was apparently long enough that Gmail cut it into two bits. This isn’t the only hazard with formatting I’ve had on e-mail story and poem submissions, it just didn’t get caught because at the time I was unaware of the hazards inherent in sending something via e-mail. Note to self and to everyone submitting: If you’re sending submissions via e-mail there WILL be problems with the formatting, no matter what up-front precautions you take.)

You probably haven’t heard of Breath & Shadow. It’s a disability magazine (written, edited, and published by people with disabilities) centered in Maine.  I found it and submitted to it when I began to realize that the story behind the story was just as important–if not more so–than the story itself.  (I’m sure you’re thinking, “Um, what?”)

In one submission after another, I realized that the cover letter, the previous publications, and any scientific background I had nearly equal weight with the story itself.  Well, I’m unpublished, I’m not a scientist, I don’t really have much proof to show that I know what I’m doing or that I am Someone or have something to share.

But then I discovered this magazine, and read a brilliant group poem written by a group of people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and I looked over their submissions page and found this paragraph:

Fiction, poetry, and drama submissions do not have to specifically mention or be “about” disability; we believe that the author’s experience of disability — her/his “disability sensibility” — will come through in the work, regardless of its subject.

And then I looked at my story and realized that it was true.  I had written its rough draft over a period of three days or so and had to painfully carve out every word from a crushing, mountainous block of haze.  The story behind the story–MY story–was suddenly important. I had something to offer beyond the words on the page. Who I was mattered, what I had experienced in writing the story mattered.  My struggles to fight through everything and carve out a present and future for myself mattered.

So, if you can ignore the formatting and punctuation issues that got introduced into the published draft, (hey it happens even at big-name publishers), take a gander.

ETA: Or if you’re as OCD for formatting and grammar as I am, I’ve added a page where you can read it online here at the blog.

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