Welcome to another post of Behind the Story. This time...
Originally published by Enchanted Conversation in February 2018
Writing versus publishing is a strange thing. If you have been following this blog series, you know that I am writing about these stories in (roughly) publication order. Publication order, however, is not writing order. In a previous “Behind the Story” blog post in which I wrote about the short story “What You Make Of It,” I spoke of my writing struggles post-college. When I found new focus in writing about 2014-2015, Seeds was the first new, original short story I wrote.
My inspiration was my awareness of the Greek myth in the cultural moment. I had seen some alternate versions of the story of Hades and Persephone, of which the story of Seeds is derived, in fanfiction, in interpretation, in the fact that early myths have alternate versions and variations. From the cultural moment, I was inspired by the then current discourse about women, feminism, and female agency in stories. Add on top a more critical look at love stories like Beauty and the Beast, and other romcoms with iffy-love situations. Seeds is a story that twists the Hades and Persephone myth, in which Persephone is more active in her own destiny. I do not wish to give away the story more than that, but I would say Seeds does anticipate that you have a basic knowledge of the Hades and Persephone myth so that it can be subverted.
Getting back to my first point about writing versus publishing being a strange thing… Seeds was written well before -- years before -- What You Make Of It and Castles at Night. For a while, because it was one of my newer stories, I sent it to a lot of literary magazines that it got rejections from. For a while after that, I gave up on sending it out a lot of literary magazines because it did not seem to be the right for fit for many of them. Maybe any of them it started to seem… It was too mythic, it was not original enough, it was too much of a retelling, is wasn’t enough of a retelling… or whatever. But because I require myself to submit to a minimum number of literary magazines a month, I became aware of a themed reading period for Enchanted Conversation and thought maybe I could be a contender. And it was.
It’s a lesson I have to learn over and over… publishing is finding the story the right fit. The magazine, the theme, and the editor. It is as much luck as talent, but we as aspiring writers should not discount the power of persistence.
PS - Also, they made me some cool cover art.
Insights from the life of an aspiring, struggling writer; a passionate reader, and a working librarian.
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