A Cybex rotary calf machine can claim credit for my decision in February, 2008 to begin taking writing "more seriously" (code for stake a claim on all my time, all my thoughts, all my nights formerly used for sleeping — you all know how it goes with this happy obsession). Truth be told, I was showing off for Buck. He was over in one corner, bench pressing to beat the band. I would flash a grin and a confident thumbs up, and throw another five pounder on the stack. "Yeow! What the heck is that pain?"
That was the end of my time at the gym for awhile. The heating pad may be partially responsible, too. Maybe its warmth caused words to sprout. Whatever happened, I am deeply grateful. I finally know what I want to be when I grow up, and I am very happy to spend the rest of my life becoming.
My first electronic submission came on February 11, 2008. I wrote to author, editor, and publisher Kathy Rhodes. Kathy is editor and publisher of the e-zine Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal.
"I appreciate the opportunity of submitting one of my small stories about life at Longleaf Preserve to Muscadines (sic) Lines. It is called The Pond Builder's Son. . . "
Kathy wrote me back on February 27. Despite my typo, she said, "I'd like to publish it in the May/June issue of the e-zine," I felt that fizzy feeling in both my ears that signals surprised exhilaration. "Grinning from ear to ear" is a cliche that fit me just right that day. I will always be grateful to Kathy, and look forward to thanking her in person at the 2010 Mid-South Creative Nonfiction Conference in Oxford, Mississippi this coming October. It will be my first writer's conference, and I can hardly wait.
I've always liked that little story because the boy in it, Walt, is so fine. It's nonfiction, and Walt is as real as his red baseball cap. And so, I'm pleased to report that another e-zine, Long Story Short, will publish The Pond Builder's Son in their March edition and more folks can get to know Walt.