One of my writing goals for 2021 was to have a story published in Wigleaf–a magazine I’ve admired ever since I started writing flash in 2008. And then I wrote this piece in Kathy Fish’s Fast Flash workshop, and after multiple beta-reads and edits, I started sending it out into the literary world. I had expected it to get rejected a few times, but…
21. It was rejected by 21 literary magazines. Really, I counted.
I couldn’t shelve it, though. There was something about this piece. I was defiantly in love with it. Maybe because when I was about 10, I really dreamed that my sister was dead and that remains one of my most vivid and painful dreams till date. The rest of the story is fiction, but I felt really close to my narrator, so I finally sent it to Wigleaf–‘coz after 21 rejections, one more wouldn’t hurt as much. But it landed, it landed, and that too, in my dream journal!
Turns out my mom was right after all. Persistence pays.
So here it is – “Rotting Mangoes”
w i g l e a f : (very) short fiction
An online journal of very short fictions — under 1000 words.
After the acceptance email, I obsessed over postcards. I had zero ideas for the first few days and then I started writing two every day, drove everyone around me crazy, and eventually picked an event from my childhood (again!).
Here’s another one of the postcards I wrote.
The palm trees encircling our apartment complex are now home to a flock of hornbills. The evening air is filled with their loud shrieking, which almost sounds like villainous human laughter, or like my kids when they get home from school. Before the hornbills, a flock of parrots used to live there. I see them sometimes, their green screeching against the steel-grey sky, circling (sadly, I imagine) the trees that used to be their home.
The apartment we live in now used to house someone else before we rented it. My daughter’s room door has “Christopher” written on it with black permanent marker. I wonder about Christopher sometimes–Who was he? Why did he write his name on the door? Was he happy here? Where is he now? Every time I see the name, I feel like a hornbill in a parrot’s nest–I’ve felt that way for a long time now. None of the places and houses I’ve lived in are home, and yet they all are.
But enough about me; where are you from?
And now…Oh hello, post-publication blues! As of now, I have no new publications scheduled. I keep forgetting that it’s because I haven’t submitted anything. Maybe I should take a break from flash and focus on my novel draft with Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Maybe I should submit my picture book manuscripts to agents and wait ages for their responses instead of seeking instant validation with flash.
But then there’s that one other micro competition…Smoke(cough)long…
Congratulations, Hema. 🙂