That term has a nice feel to it. I’m a Published Author. Of course, in my case, it has about the same significance as being the greatest dog-catcher in Enid, Oklahoma.
It all came about because H.E.Ellis solicited (no, not like that), urged and supported me to write my little fractured fairy tale about the hare and the tortoise. She deemed my short treatise worthy to present with others in the series, on her blog-site. I am so honored, that I’ve been running around the neighborhood telling both people who will speak to me, all about it.
Truth be told, and I do occasionally, while this is the most auspicious occurrence, it is not the first, nor the only time I have been published. In fact there have been many times I’ve had something printed at this same rate of remuneration. The first time I had a piece of my prose published, I was almost 18.
I was not directly involved in the submission, so I tend to ignore and forget it. For a Grade 12 Easter-term English exam I scratched out a little, thousand-word, post-apocalyptic sci-fi piece. It centered on a bear waking from winter hibernation. He stood up in his little cave and bumped his head and wondered how he’d managed that. Then he marveled at the fact that he was thinking at all. A rabbit hopped in, and greeted him with a non-verbal, “So, you’re finally up.”
It seems, while he slept the winter away, humans had engaged in a terrible war, nukes, biological, and maybe something else. Every human on the planet was dead, and the animals had all achieved intelligence and telepathy. I ignored the fact that, despite the sapience and communication, animals weren’t farmers. Some of them would still have to eat others. This was 1962. The Cold War was chilly.
My friend read several sci-fi pulp mags, and urged me to send it in, as a filler. It was just a school project. Once done, it was soon forgotten, but not by him. He believed so strongly that he sent it in under my name….and it got printed. I had my first job, a hundred miles away, a car I couldn’t take with me, a now-long distance girlfriend. I came home to visit one weekend, and he excitedly handed me a twenty dollar check. Long before quick and easy photographic proof, I cashed the check and spent the badly need money.
The Toronto Sun distributes all across Southern Ontario, from Windsor in the west, almost to Montreal. Years ago, they had a page titled Coffee Break. This held the comics, the horoscopes, the word jumble, the crossword puzzle and a Poet’s Corner. Usually just eight, ten, twelve line ditties, often in unrhymed blank verse, eventually they disappeared. I guess all the poets ran out of themes. I saw a short poem one day from a woman thinking of leaving her man, because he didn’t express his love often, or strongly enough. It inspired me to submit the following rebuttal.
The Strong Silent Type
I really like you.
I’m sure that I’ve shown,
And also I love you.
I thought that you’ve known.
I have trouble with words
And what I should say
Is, “I want you! I need you!
That’s why you should stay!”
Some men speak with their voices,
But it’s a real art.
For a man who cannot,
You must hear with your heart.
Not exactly Shakespeare, more like Edgar Allan Poe,
Quoth the Rave, “Nevermore!”
To his drunken girlfriend on the barroom floor.
I once had a one-third page Second Opinion column printed in the local paper. So long ago, I don’t remember the theme. Probably Christian intolerance, that seems to be what I get most, and most often, irked about. I have trouble keeping my many op-ed submissions under the acceptable 300 word limit, so the editor suggested I expand one of my more insightful, but verbose ones a bit.
Here I am, writing about Christian intolerance and look down to see that my word count is 666! Satan looked over my shoulder and said, Ah, don’t worry about it! It don’t mean nothing.
I’ve had hundreds of letters to the Editor published over the years, when I can be concise, as well as informed. They’ve been on a wide range of subjects, and printed, not only in the local newspaper, but in the Toronto Sun and even in a Knife Makers magazine I subscribe to. I used to be an opinionated young whipper-snapper. Now I’m an opinionated old coot.
The opinions Editor at the local paper is a religiously conservative (some kind of) Mennonite. It’s tough to get a letter printed which is negatively judgemental of Christianity and its purveyors. At least twice though, once by phone and once by email, I have been contacted by his young assistant to submit a con argument on a religious discussion, when there’s been a week of only pro letters of support published. I think the kid likes to tweak the old man’s tail once in a while.
I’m confident of my vocabulary and word use, spelling (I’m right nine times to Spell-check’s one), construction and punctuation, even though I’m a little heavy on subordinate clauses and commas. I just don’t seem to believe I have the creative spark to dream up scenarios. H.E.Ellis is enthralled by the story-telling abilities of both SightsnBytes and me. She has suggested that we compile our *Remember When* stories, and produce an autobiographical novel.
With my small but dedicated readership, I’m not sure how large an audience I might get, but I’m starting to think about the idea more seriously. She must know something. She’s very small, but a much bigger Published Author than I am. She’s a trained professional. Don’t try this at home kids!