Thoughtful Dog, an online literary and lifestyle magazine, has published my latest short story, “Cock’d,” in its April 29th issue. This is the first of what I hope will be the renaissance of my fiction-writing career after a more than 15-year hiatus. “Cock’d” opens with a reference to Rod Stewart, but it is Steve Winwood who wrote the theme song for this moment: I'll be back in the high life again/ All the doors I closed one time will open up again/ I'll be back in the high life again/ All the eyes that watched me once will smile and take me in.
I’m not sure that publishing a short story constitutes the “high life,” but then again, for those of us who write serious short fiction and work to find a home for it, this is as good as it gets. Writing is hard and slow. I accept that challenge. My relationship with the process of attempting to get that work published is like Fatal Attraction. I start off submitting with naïve, hopeful anticipation and as the rejections pile up, I realize I’m involved with Alex who keeps telling me, “You are a cock-sucking son of a bitch. I hate you. I bet you don't even like real girls, do you? Ha! You disappoint me, you fucking faggot!”
Some days, I’m not up to this challenge. Still, I write on.
“Cock’d” represents the process at its easiest. It received only 14 rejections before Thoughtful Dog Editor-in-Chief Loie Sayers accepted it for publication. Because I am a Missouri-based writer, I typically submit my work first to appropriate Missouri literary journals as a show of support to this state’s literary efforts. They passed on “Cock’d,” but Thoughtful Dog, which features literary fiction as well as interviews, essays, and articles on the art of writing and the literary life, got it. Thoughtful Dog is earnest about publishing good writing and literature without taking themselves too seriously, and “Cock’d” certainly fits into that aesthetic.
So, the story is written. The story is published. Now it needs readers. It’s online, so it is easy to find and read. Follow the links, then follow me if you want. I’ve got one story making the rounds with more than 50 rejections and more work in the hopper. Stay tuned. Keep reading.