The first part of my plan for literary domination has been set in motion....I've been published ya'll! I didn't get paid, but it's a start. I can feel it!
After submitting short stories to literary mags for months and opening e-mails that begin with "we thank you for your submission but..." my short story "The Payback," has finally been published in the July issue of Forge Journal. The print edition--which I definitely plan on buying-- isn't available yet, but you can read the story over at Forge Journal's website.
"The Payback," is loosely based on me and a friend's experience of being gay-bashed years ago. Without giving too much away, it basically explores the darker revenge impulses I felt that night towards the guys who jumped us. Writing this story was extremely cathartic for me; in the past I've blogged about what happened and the aftermath in great detail, and thought all the negative feelings had passed.
But for some reason while writing the old anger and hate crept back in. At first I hesitated to to channel it, for lack of a better word; that night was only time in my life where I can say I truly felt angry enough to kill someone. I thought it could be too much, or too unbelievable, for people to wrap their head around the motivation for the characters' actions. But describing what I wanted to do to that night and "going there," at least mentally, helped me to finally let go of it all. I guess I needed to purge those feelings as much I needed to talk about the sadness, confusion and humiliation. I'm happy that I had the nerve to follow my instincts. Being published is just the cherry on the sundae.
Since we're talking about writing and such, I may as well spill the tea on my other literary efforts. I have a short story entitled "The Hookup"--you can guess what that's about--that's in the can and has been submitted to a short story writing contest, and finished up the first draft of another short piece that's a peek into the everyday life of an older gay couple a few weeks ago. I have some notes typed out in an e-mail draft for another short story but haven't gotten around to putting fingers to keyboard just yet.
On the novel front, I've begun revising the first draft of the LGBT adult fiction novel about three college friends and their dramatic last semester I finished a few months back.The editing process is going smoothly, albeit a bit slowly--it can be tough sometimes to think objectively about my words. Anyone who's written anything can relate to this: you just can't bear to part with that (at least in your mind) genius turn of phrase or glorious metaphor or unforgettable quote by a character that will have readers bowing down and calling you the second coming of James Baldwin. However, I'm getting better at trimming the fat, and posting things on Scribophile certainly helps with that--those folks don't mince words. The title is still undecided at this point, but I'm already turning over a few cover/book trailer ideas in my head--I may be a ways from being a on a bookshelf or on Amazon.com, but I got plans for this baby. I may also turn "The Hookup" into a full-fledged novel or novella, but still need to plan out the plot more.
My fantasy novel The Omega Squad: The Kidara Chronicleshas fallen by the wayside at the moment, partly due to my focus on the other novel/short stories and partly due to procrastination, but I'll pick it up again eventually. Cliche as it may sound, there is something fun and liberating about creating a whole new world with it's own rules and realities and letting your weirdo flag fly lol. And I'm still blogging here of course, as well as and for my music site Indies and The Underground, which is part of The Truth About Music. Also, be sure to look out for another op-ed piece for African Americans for Humanism's blog in the next month or two.
Anyway that's what happening with me on the creative front. For all my other writers, musicians, painters and creative folks, where are you currently at on your endeavors? Are you looking to get published, signed etc., or are you happy for you pursuits to remain a hobby?