One more night to dream

So… it’s been almost a year since I’ve posted here. A lot has happened in that year, but in terms of the bigger picture of my life, most things have stayed the same.

One new thing is that, for the second time ever, I submitted a story to be considered for publication. I’ve done this once before, but I knew, I think, even when I submitted it, that the first story wasn’t that good. I was crushed, but not surprised, when it got rejected almost immediately. It didn’t deserve to be seriously considered, and I haven’t gone back to it since.

This time around, though, I believe in my story. I worked hard on it for a full two months, from mid-December to mid-February. I sent it to my critique group (because yay! I have a critique group.) I sent it to my mom. I submitted it for consideration with two minutes to go before the deadline, having skipped dinner because there just wasn’t time.

I believe in this one enough that, if it gets rejected (and I keep telling myself that’s the likely outcome), I plan to send it around to some friends for further critique, put it through one or two more rounds of revision, and send it back out to other magazines. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that level of confidence in a story before. (I have some that I think have potential to get there, but they aren’t there just yet. And if this one isn’t there, I feel like it’s pretty darn close.)

The submission deadline was just over two weeks ago. We were supposed to get answers two days ago, on March 1st. I’ve been anxious since February 15th, when I submitted my story, just before midnight. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this anxious for this long.

I wonder whether this is the way it will always feel when I submit a story, and whether it’s something I can keep doing to myself. Two weeks is an impressively quick turnaround. There are plenty of venues where two *months* might not yield an answer.

But I’m hoping that level of anxiety is just because this one is special. There are lots of places to which I can submit my story, but only one of them is Queers Destroy Science Fiction, a special issue of Lightspeed Magazine, just for Queer writers. And only one of them is guest-edited by one of my favorite authors, Seanan McGuire. So the stakes are even higher. Because getting my story accepted here would be even more amazing than getting it accepted somewhere else.

And maybe that’s why I’m so anxious. Because I keep dreaming of that moment. The one where I get to announce that I’m about to destroy science fiction, the one where I get an acceptance letter from one of my favorite authors. And there’s something amazing about that dream. And it will hurt a lot to lose it. Getting published would be exciting. Getting published *here* would go a step beyond. I want it so badly.

As the response deadline has passed, I’ve been searching a few choice spots on the internet for updates. The Lightspeed Magazine website doesn’t have anything to report, nor does the Kickstarter page for Queers Destroy Science Fiction. Seanan McGuire’s blog has had information about where she’s traveled lately, including a convention over this past weekend, so I wasn’t surprised to not have an answer yet, but I still wanted to know when that answer might be forthcoming. Today, she tweeted about being too jetlagged/tired to make important decisions.

Which implies that she’s saving those decisions for tomorrow. Which means that tomorrow is the day I’ll get my acceptance or my rejection, and I have to keep telling myself it will likely be a rejection, because I’m still holding fast to that dream. Tomorrow, it either becomes real, or it dissolves into fantasy. There will be other places to send this story, and I’m confident I can find a home for it. But those other places won’t be *this* one. And that’s going to hurt.

But tomorrow is tomorrow, and when I see that email in my in-box, I will remind myself one more time that I expect to be rejected. I’ll remember what my original goal was, the one I repeated again and again: I’ll be satisfied to say I made it past the slush pile. (And since I haven’t been rejected yet, I’m almost positive that I did.) And I’ll prepare myself for disappointment, and hope I have a moment to mourn the loss of this particular dream before I continue on with my workday or my evening, and and continue on with my writing.

But for one more night, the dream is still there, and I suppose I might as well try to enjoy it.


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