Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Still Digesting

I recently got some great news: I was selected as one of six finalists in the Reader’s Digest 100 Word Essay Contest! Let’s just say there was so much whooping and leaping that pets fled in fear.

I grew up assuming it was normal to have a copy of Reader’s Digest sitting on the kitchen table like a centerpiece, and I’ve dreamed of being published in that sacred little tome for well over thirty years. I remember only too well lugging my dad’s electric typewriter from his scary basement lair up two flights of stairs to prepare some submissions for their “All in a Day’s Work” and “Laughter is the Best Medicine” sections. Said typewriter was impressively large and encased in mustard-gold plastic with a handle for easy transportation like a Samsonite suitcase, if one had packed 60 pounds of scrap metal and a ribbon that sagged in the middle for a vacation to Writerville.

It wasn’t exactly a fun vacation, either. I had to set the whole thing up on my furry red bedspread with my beloved Webster’s New World College edition close at hand because I didn’t have a proper desk. Mistakes were such an ordeal to correct that the whole process was absolutely agonizing for a poor typist like me. The resulting piece usually looked like a minefield of tiny White Out explosions, like a small war had taken place on the page. Which it had.

Submitting meant more carefully typed envelopes and stamps, followed by ages of waiting. Endless waiting, since I didn’t get a response.

It took over thirty years. For me it was worth the wait. Please consider looking for it in the June edition.

Walking the wire is life. Everything else is waiting around ~Karl Wallenda of the Flying Wallendas

14 comments:

  1. Tammy--

    HFFF! Congratulations! That is fabulous news, and it couldn't happen to a more deserving writer.

    I too have dreamed--for decades--of being published in a Reader's Digest book. I can now bow down to you, oh worthy one.

    (And your image of you and the typewriter on the furry bedspread brought back such fond memories. I went through gallons of white out and cases of the correction tape.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't yet completed a novel or attended abbey retreats. I'm thinking I'm the one who needs to do the bowing.

      Delete
  2. Wow! That IS great news! Congrats!

    Many years ago I made two attempts to break into “All in a Day’s Work." Obviously, I was missing the two secret ingredients: a mustard-gold plastic typewriter case, and a red furry bedspread. Fie on my parents for depriving me of life's necessities! I didn't even have my dark basement lair back then.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks! I'm betting you had a Reader's Digest lying around someplace, though. Except maybe in a more normal place....

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so happy for you! I am in awe of your writing, and this is icing on the cake! Congratulations Tammy.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We get Reader's Digest and so I'm SOOOOO looking forward to seeing your name in print in that magazine and I'm so excited for you!!! YIPPPPEEEE! No one deserves it more than you. So awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynn! That means a lot to me!

      Delete
  6. That's HUGE! They get a TON of submissions and it is a real accomplishment. Congratulations! I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations, Tammy! That's awesome! A bazillion years ago they published one of my submissions in the "All in a Day's Work" feature. Do they still send that lovely blue bumper sticker with the check that says: "I found money, fame, and glory, Reader's Digest bought my story"?

    Pat
    Critter Alley

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you, Pat! That's cool you actually made "All in a Day's Work!" I just heard from the editors last weekend, but sure hope I get that bumper sticker!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am SOO happy for you, Tammy!! Congratulations!!!!! I can't wait to get the June edition. And like always, with anything you write because your descriptions are so lovely and vivid, I could absolutely see you sitting there with your mustard-gold typewriter on your furry red bedspread. And I definitely remember those ol' minefield White Out days!

    ReplyDelete

Any return "messages" are appreciated!