Thursday, March 5, 2009

We're Rich

NOTE* I got my start writing a weekly humor column for a suburban newspaper. Primarily it was about family, but occasionally, I would write about the joys of the writing life. Here is another one of the columns for your enjoyment:

When I sold my first short story to a magazine a few weeks ago, we were all happily playing Howard Hughes around here for awhile. My husband was planning his retirement, the kids were picking out houses in the country and I had visions of never having to look at another price tag" again before I bought a dress.

I suppose we're all entitled to our glory dreams and it sure was fun while it lasted. But now that the excitement has died down to a dull roar and the rejection slips have started to litter my desk again, we have resigned ourselves to the fact that perhaps we'll have to wait awhile before we start recklessly throwing money around buying mink coats and hamburgers.

Anjanette has given up her dream of a whole new bedroom set with maybe a new bedroom to put it in. David has gone back to mowing lawns to save the money for his new mag wheels and Michael is collecting cans for recycling to keep himself in spending money. I've resigned myself to another year at least in the bargain basement, and unfortunately, Carl still has to get up every morning and go to work. (Someone has to keep me in typing paper and postage.)

Meanwhile the check isn't even cashed yet. I'm afraid to· cash it because I know it will be gone all too soon; and besides that, it's still a big thrill to go in and look at it every now and then. (I know that will pass, since it only took me two weeks to stop opening the magazine every five minutes to see my name in the credits.)

From here on in, no other acceptance will probably ever mean as much or create quite the stir that this one has.

Someday, discussing the terms of a sale with an editor in New York will be old hat. I won't have to try to act cool and professional on the outside while on the inside I'm jumping up and down for joy.

Someday, I won't call my best friend to announce, "You are now speaking to a famous writer person!"

"Who is this? Is this some sort of crank call?"

Someday, selling stories will all be part. of the routine around here and no one will stop by with champagne to celebrate. The kids won't be announcing it to every creature that moves up and down the block, and my husband won't run around the grocery stores making sure the magazine is prominently displayed. (I told him I didn't get any royalties, but he did it anyway.)

But until that someday rolls around, I guess I can stand all the excitement just a little bit longer.


Maryann Miller is an author and freelance editor. Her latest books are One Small Victory and Play it Again, Sam. Visit her Web site for information about her books and her editing services. If you have a good book, she can help you make it better. When she is not working, she loves to play "farmer" on her little ranch in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas.

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  1. Ah, the thrill of success. Nothing more exciting.

  2. Thanks, Helen. I made a copy of that check and have it framed in my office.

  3. What fun! When I freelanced for the Daily Herald, I used to get all my articles laminated to preserve them.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. Morgan, I have a gajillion clips of that humorous column and the more serious one I did for another paper. They are all getting old and faded. Never thought of laminating them.

  5. "I had visions of never having to look at another price tag" again before I bought a dress."

    That is so true. When I wrote my first novel, I really believed that it was destined to be one of the top bestsellers of the century.

    We live and learn, but still hope.

  6. MaryAnn, I enjoyed reading this blog and could really identify with it. Thanks for sharing.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  7. LOVE this, Maryann! The FIRST always holds a touch of excitement to it, :-)

  8. Thanks everyone for stopping by to comment. Laughing at our foibles helps keep us grounded. Glad this nonsense resonated with you.

  9. I still have such fantasies. Why not? I love my reality too.

  10. Love your sense of humor. The framed check will be your constant reminder of your first published effort, and have you picked out the coat yet?


  11. The "cheque in the post" is another one of the great story props, isn't it?


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.