One lovely spring day in 2016, I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. I stood, looking out the window to the hospital emergency entrance while the woman on the phone asked if I had submitted a story to The Writers’ Union of Canada. At that moment, it seemed like a strange question to ask. “Yes,” I answered. “Why?”
Her voice was light and musical. “Well,” she said. “You’ve won.”
Here’s the thing – I submit my work and try to forget about it. I don’t check into Submittable for the status of my various submissions. It’s far too depressing. I’ve often forgotten which pieces went where until I receive the kindly emails that begin, “Thank you for submitting to X. Unfortunately…”
“What does that mean?” I asked, sounding and feeling rather dense.
What it meant was quite stunning, in fact. There was a substantial cash prize and an invitation to the Writers’ Union of Canada gala at Harbourfront during The Toronto International Festival of Authors, and submission on my behalf to three prestigious Canadian literary journals.
I bought a new dress for the occasion, and it was a wondrous day of celebration. It felt as if at last my ship was launched.
The story, Tender Fruit, inspired by the devastation caused by the sale of Niagara’s fruit canning plant to China, received no offers of publication from the three journals. I’d been advised to wait three months before submitting it elsewhere. After the three months, I began submitting it to various journals and contests. Dead air.
Last year, John Blackmore, a previous winner of the same prize, contacted me to see if I’d like to have my story featured on his podcast, Fresh New Shorts. Hell, yeah. It’s a wonderful series of truly remarkable short stories, many of which are his.
That’s a long-winded way to invite you to have a listen to my winning and often rejected story. I hope you’ll enjoy it.