I am over-the-moon excited that one of my short stories I submitted a few months ago has been published today!
You can read it here: “Weathered Crossroads” by Michelle Boyd Waters
The story is the product of an assignment in my The Teaching of Composition: Theory and Practice graduate class taught by Anthony Kunkel at the University of Oklahoma. The goal for the assignment: Write a motif story. I pondered the definition of literary motif: An object or idea that's repeated throughout a literary work and has a symbolic significance that contributes to the theme of the story. Naturally, being an Oklahoma resident in the middle of a teacher walkout at the time, I thought about tornadoes.
After much mental deliberation, I decided to write my story about a middle aged married couple and the “untwisting” of their stormy relationship. You'll have to read the story here to find out what that means…
Kunkel liked the story. He wrote at the top of my paper:
Love this story. Beautiful writing and strong motif. I didn't feel the husband as clearly as I wish I could have — He seemed a bit flat. The description of almost everything, though, was brilliant. Nice job!
Note how he suggested an improvement I could make? I took his advice and added a few more details to the husband: More hints about his back story, a stronger visual connection.
During our last class, Kunkel encouraged all of us in the class to subscribe to a month of Writer's Market and submit our work to literary magazines and websites. I searched several options and found Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, which seemed appropriate, all things considered. According to their website:
Established in 1989 as a quarterly print journal with local free distribution in Madison, Wisconsin, Mobius strives to publish challenging fiction and poetry that deals with social change as either a primary or a secondary theme.
I submitted two poems and my “Weathered Crossroads” short story.
The two poems were rejected.
A month later, I received an email congratulating me on my story's acceptance into their September issue.
Did I mention I'm over the moon about this?
UPDATE: Even better, after I shared my story with members of my mailing list and social media, I received several encouraging replies, including requests for the novel version and this one below from Suzanne Catron, a drama teacher in Portugal:
I really enjoyed that, Michelle! The build up and sense of menace is powerful and I felt totally with your protagonist who had withstood so many storms before and relieved that it was over for her and she had finally stood up to her abusive partner. I particularly liked the image of her as being seen through a distorted mirror by her husband. Keep writing!
Feedback and connection like this is what keeps a writer going in the dark days of self-doubt!
I'd love for you to read my story, and share your thoughts in the comments below!