Today was a "minor momentousness" in my writing career (phrase courtesy Cheston Knapp - I don't want him to sue me for copyright infringement). Actually, this whole week was momentous for me.
On Thursday, renowned science-fiction author Greg Bear spoke at OU, which of course made me little starstruck. He gave us zealous PW kids the opportunity to ask him questions. Because Mel (my writing professor/mentor, if you recall) recently told me that the market for dystopias--the story type I gravitate toward--is poor, I asked Mr. Bear his opinion of them.
He told me to find something that concerns me in society, make "a fantastic metaphor" out of it, then take it to the extreme.
"Is that how you write your dystopias?"
Whoa, he totally just spoke to me! "Uh...I certainly try (or did I say, 'I sure hope so?')!"
He proceeded to ask me what I saw in society worth commenting on. Trust me, that spotlight was the last thing I was expecting, and to be honest, it was quite terrifying. I don't do well when questioned on the spot. It usually drags all the leftover stutters out of me.
I told Mr. Bear that I dislike how strongly individualistic this culture is. People often hone in on their own lives and try to make something of themselves at the cost of relationships.
"That's a good insight. That's something I've been seeing, too, in the last twenty or so years."
Wow, okay! I can deal with that! I blurted out my happiness. "That's encouraging!"
He went on to quote Ray Bradbury as a means of charging me to keep writing about the things I care about, regardless of the great and terrible "market": "If they give you lined paper write the other way" (Fahrenheit 451).
Furthermore, I finished my first full-length dystopia today! It grew from 4000 words to 10,000. You must understand, this is the first self-initiated writing project I've ever finished, which makes it a very big deal to me.
With this small thrill of victory still buzzing in my head, I received an email from the editor of A Daughter's Story. She and I have been in touch because she chose one of my short stories for the anthology.
She said that the book will be published by Mother's Day! We'll receive two copies, as well as a media packet so we can spread the word, by mail. This fabulous woman has plans to travel to all the "big markets"--New York, Cali, Chicago, etc.--to make A Daughter's Story as visible as possible, promos including pretty neat things like a commercial and a morning show stint.
I don't expect that this publication will launch my career into the stars. I am content with the personal fulfillment...and heady possibilities.
I sometimes wonder how God could grant me a gift that I love so much, as well as allow me to use it over and over. Is His call always this deeply joyful?
Behold the beautiful details of His plan: I have seen life pour back into my heart this semester when I started writing stories again.