Early last year, I sent a short story to Guideposts magazine. It was a pared-down, cleaned-up version of a story about my grandma that I submitted sometime back in 2012 or so that they rejected. It was such a nice rejection letter that I couldn’t get too mopey about it – at least for long, anyhow.
But that letter made me rethink the story. Ever pick up an earlier version of something you wrote and think Good grief! What was I thinking?? It’s kind of like that shudder you get when you find an old picture of yourself from the Age of Big Hair. Yeah, you know what I mean.
That first story didn’t have the oomph it needed.
So early last year, I dug grandma out of the slush pile, dusted her off and started rewriting. I tightened everything up and tweaked until the cows came home. Then I sent the story in again.
And didn’t hear anything. For weeks…and months…
I just about shrugged it off for good when I got a call from a story editor at Guideposts. They liked the story and wanted to work with me to make it fit the magazine’s style.
It took a few days of back-and-forth emails and phone calls, but we ironed things out, and throughout, the Guideposts team was upbeat, professional and helpful. It made me recall a few stories I’ve submitted to other publications that have been hacked up and changed so completely that I hardly recognized them as my own work. Guideposts modifications stayed true to my story while it loosened the feel to fit their magazine. It was a good experience, one I hope to repeat soon.
Here’s a link to the story on their website. As an added bonus, you even get a huge view of my head right at the top of the page! Thankfully with no big hair…