It was my New Year’s resolution to publish something, already. And then it became my goal to publish more than one something. Maybe ten. Maybe . . .

To be honest, my aspirations as a writer rate right up there with fantasies about winning the lottery, and, sometimes, imagining that certain very specific individuals would suddenly become dead. Basically I want the exciting life change without the hassle of beating astronomical odds or disposing of a body.

This wasn’t ever about Becoming a Best-Selling Author. It was just a goal, to get me back into obsessive egomaniacal torture that writing – when it really works – should be.

So I dredge through earlier drafts, make definitive revisions as if I possess anything resembling objective detachment, craft what may or may not be a great piece, and hit the “submit” button. It’s all cool. The point is just to have done it. Doesn’t matter if they like it or not. Most writers collect hundreds of rejection slips before they finally sell a piece.

Ten minutes later, I’m checking my email for a response.

I imagine them, the whole staff, parked listlessly at their computer screens trudging through the usual duties of the day. One of them spots my submission and gasps with excitement. Resounding cheers, and wistful murmurs, of “She sent us another one!” pass from one desk to the next like so much wildfire, as each eagerly clicks to open the file.

Or maybe the server funnels items to respective editors, who wile away countless focused hours evaluating poetry or fiction or non-fiction without bothering to notice the byline – until something sparks their adrenaline, touches their heart, floats a giggle to the surface. Then they look at the name and say, “of course.”

Goodness, I can get so busy masterminding the inner workings of their offices, I forget to check my email.

Actually they’re probably passing it from one desk to the next, scientifically exploring whether their emotional response was merely due to their own overworked relief, or if this piece truly is one for the ages. One by one, the wizened and lifeless editors become animated, inspired; slowly regaining color to their flesh and restoring their faith in the creative potential of humankind.

Or maybe they print out any copy that passes first muster – I know that poem I sent was rejected in just a couple of days, it reeked so badly they didn’t even have to think about it. But the better ones, perhaps they hang the pages up to pulsate softly on a bulletin board near the coffee machine, let the ideas marinate for a while, see if they hold up with time. God knows that’s what I like to do, and I don’t even drink coffee.

Then again, maybe this last submission was just a self-absorbed piece of tripe that’s got someone flinging their hands heavenward, questioning why they must endure what is obviously a high-school freshman regurgitating the text messages she sent to her BFF earlier today.

One time they bought my piece in one hour and fifty-seven minutes, which is probably a record or something; but it was a fairly amazing chunk of prose if I do say so myself. Of course, most of my other submissions get parked in purgatory for six weeks or more.

I wonder if there’s anything to that. Maybe the length of response time has nothing to do with how good your writing actually is. Like when you get an invitation to something you don’t really want to do, so you wait until the last minute to RSVP. Or when someone you don’t like in real life wants to be your “friend” on Facebook, you let Mrs Butterworth take her own sweet time before you accept.

Speaking of which, I’d better refresh my email again.

I wonder how many submissions they get, in any given day. Their list of contributors is fairly extensive, but it’s probably not logical to assume that each of them is submitting something every week. Yet they manage to publish fresh material that often . . . are they doing that with just eight or nine submissions, or do they have mounds and mounds of writing that they’re artfully culling into this e-zine? Each splash page a careful juxtaposition of topics, color, humor, and drama to maintain a well-rounded site? If that were the case, I could certainly understand why they haven’t gotten back to me yet about this one.

I should write something else. Well, actually I probably should try to get some work done today, or maybe just stand up once in a while and move around so I don’t develop hamstring cancer, but as long as I’m so fully focused on tasting the afterglow of validation in my contribution to literary society, I should channel it toward creating something that might trigger a same-day response.

First, though, I’ll check my email.

Next year, a different New Year’s resolution might be good.

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