Goodbye, Rodney

I met Joseph Rodney Evans–or Rodney, as I knew him–while I was editor of The Weevil Eye, the Enterprise State Junior College student newspaper. He was a reporter for the paper, and a character from the beginning. He was as round as he was tall, with slick black hair and thick, dark-tinted glasses, continually wearing a black canvas duster.

That’s how I still see him, because that’s how I saw him nearly every day for three or four years, I suppose. After ESJC, we each moved on to Troy University, where we lived on the same hall in the same crappy dorm. I kept on with the newspaper thing, but Rodney had other interests. Still, we saw each other every day, and often hung out several times a week. I can tell you that Rodney was a good man–one of the kindest and most genuine people I’ve ever met.

Rodney died last Friday. I still can’t wrap my head around it. We’d reconnected several years ago on Facebook, and I was startled to learn that he was in bad shape physically. Rodney had won the kind of genetic lottery you never want to claim. His eyes were bad–I think he even lost one of them later on–and he was morbidly obese, on dialysis, and had heart problems. I find that last part terribly ironic. He had one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known. There shouldn’t have been any damned problems.

Here is the difference between Rodney and myself: I am a bullshitter par excellence. Even today, I BS with the best of them. But back then I was all-world at bullshitting, and pretty insufferable because of it. Rodney was not like that at all. He was, as far as I can tell, completely anti-bullshit. He often made me uncomfortable with his naked vulnerability, because I’d learned to be something of a chameleon, to disguise my hurts and my pain–to put up walls and not let anyone in.

He was also one hell of a talented writer. Twenty years from now, some lucky editor is going to dig up old manuscripts of Rodney’s and go “Holy shit–who is this guy? He’s GOOD.” He was smart, and I had/have a healthy respect for the intelligent choices he made in his stories. He was, in many ways, ahead of his time. He wrote a lot of speculative fiction early on, about 15 years too soon. I think he would have been right at home in the new crop of magical realism writers that have come along recently.

I called him last year. Or maybe the year before. He’d posted something to Facebook that was sad, and I knew he was essentially homebound and might like to talk to someone. He didn’t pick up, so I left a voicemail. I didn’t follow up with another call. I know how it is with depression. Sometimes you’re hurting so bad and you want someone to reach out to you–but you want it to be the right someone. I figured I wasn’t it, so I let it go. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d called him back again and again, wish I’d annoyed him enough to answer the damned phone.

God, he was funny. Sarcastic without ever really being mean. And despite all of his physical challenges, I never saw him bitter. I saw him hilariously angry many times, but never bitter.

I want to tell you that at his core, Joseph Rodney Evans was a good man–a better man than I was, and better than I ever will be. And yet I’m the one with the house and the cars and the wife and the kids. I’m the one here still breathing. He’s not. And that’s a damned shame. He deserved every happiness, but got damned little of it. And now he’s gone.

I wish I could tell him thank you. Thank you for being my friend when I was so full of myself that I didn’t have many. Thank you for forgiving me when i was being an asshole. Thank you for making me laugh. Thanks for letting me be one of the legion of people who were able to call you a friend.

Rest in peace, Rodney.

Short story: Sarah Loved the Rain

Author’s note: This is a story I wrote before I’d ever been to Paris. It’s a short-short, and my take on a romantic story. I think it’s pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. It’s definitely something I wrote to get out of my comfort zone, so it works for me on that level. Other than being seen by a few friends, it hasn’t been published before. I think. Enjoy.

Sarah Loved the Rain

Short fiction by Bobby Mathews

The city was made of silver, or at least that’s the way it looked to us. The rain came down and washed the gray streets and streaked the tall slate buildings until they looked strange and mercurial in the twilight. Everything was tinged with magic, and why not? Two Americans in the city of light, walking along cobbled streets that were ancient when Ernest Hemingway walked along them nearly a century ago.

We walked along, our heads and shoulders protected from the soft, fluid chill of the rain by the large black umbrella I carried. Sarah was taller than me by a couple of inches, and self-conscious about it. She never wore high heels. She shortened her stride to match mine, and we meandered everywhere, watching flower vendors pack up petals and plastic wrap and dyes. In the gutters where they dyed the flowers, riotous color ran and mixed in a greasy rainbow. Continue reading

Running late

I’m running a little late today. The day job has taken over my life a little bit, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoy the day job immensely, but sometimes it requires a lot out of me in order to do it the right way.

Regardless, onward and upward. Last year I read 71 novels and three memoirs, for a total of 74 books. I don’t think I’m going to hit that mark this year, but I’m trying to continue reading a good deal. Time spent with a book is much better than time spent in front of the TV (or internet, for that matter).

The hopeful part of me thinks that reading so much will motivate me to write more and better during this new year. And I think that’ll happen. But when I hit the very good novels–like, say, Stardust by Neil Gaiman–I see how much further I have to go. There are novelists out there that I can say I’m better than. I write better than they do, from an objective viewpoint. I know that sounds arrogant, but I don’t mean it that way. Even though I may write better than they do, if they’re a published novelist, they’re doing something I can’t or won’t do: drafting, re-drafting, polishing, submitting.

I have to put in the work to get the rewards. That’s just the cold, hard truth.

Author interview: Following up with Cassandra Rose Clarke

Editor’s note: Shortly after this interview was published, Cassandra Rose Clarke’s novel, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, was named a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for best original paperback science fiction novel published in the U.S.

Cassandra Rose Clarke and I have been friends since she was 18 or 19 years old, and just dreaming of writing the kind of fiction she produces today. She’s published by Angry Robot (and its YA imprint, Strange Chemistry), and repped by the incomparable Stacia Decker of Donald Maass Literary Agency. Her books receive fantastic attention from places like Kirkus, and her novel The Mad Scientist’s Daughter has appeared on multiple “Best of 2013” lists. I don’t know any other way to say this: she’s kind of a big deal. Earlier this week we sat down to catch up and talk about her transition from debut novelist (The Assassin’s Curse) to working writer.

B: You had your first novel published in 2012, but really came into your own in 2013. Exactly how many books did you have published last year?

CC: 2013 saw two novels (one adult, one YA) and two novellas (both part of the YA novel’s world). So yeah, 2013 was definitely pretty busy for me.

B: Basically, 2013 was the year that you transitioned from first-time novelist to what I’d term a working writer–someone who’s writing and publishing books with some regularity. What was this transition like for you? Continue reading

Short story: Daddy’s Girl

I love a good creepy story. I love it even more when I’m the one who wrote it. A couple of months ago, an idea popped into my head and wouldn’t let go. Since I couldn’t ignore it, I sat down and chased it with the cursor, and caught what I could. The resulting story, Daddy’s Girl, turned out pretty well, I think. In some ways, a spooky story is a simple affair. Find that one nerve that jangles in the dead of the night–you know, that one that makes your hair stand on end when you wake up at midnight and wonder if you’ve locked all the doors and windows before you settled in for the night–and jump on it as hard as you can, as long as you can. So here’s the story.

Daddy’s Girl

Short fiction by Bobby Mathews

Mommy isn’t moving anymore.

She’s just lying there on the floor, face turning from blue to an awful purple color. Daddy lunged out of his chair, knocking it backward against the dining room wall. He knelt beside her, calling her name over and over. I’m screaming for her–“Mommy, mommy!”–like I haven’t done since I was a toddler. I haven’t called her “Mommy” in years. Now I can’t think of anything else to call her.

Mommy didn’t say anything when it happened. She just pitched sideways right in the middle of supper, while she was trying to take a bite of mashed potatoes. The fork clattered to the floor beside her. Now Daddy is moving around her, tilting her head back and trying to breathe down her airway the way they taught us in CPR class.

I can’t move—I don’t know what to do. Daddy looks up at me, his eyes wild like an animal. He tosses me his cell phone. I catch it with numb fingers. Continue reading

What to expect for 2014

So for the last few months, I’ve been neglecting the blog. It just hasn’t been as … focused … as I’d like it to be. So we’re trying something new this year. And since this begins the first full week of the new year, it’s as good a time as any to start. The blog will update three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Here’s what you can expect on each of those days:

Mondays: A hodgepodge. This might be a book review, or thoughts on fiction I’m working on. It might be funny stories from life, or notes on stories I want to write. I might even announce personal news on days like today. You’ll never know. It’ll be a surprise to you, and sometimes to me as well.

Wednesdays: Oh ho. Now we’re getting into the fun part. At least once a month, I’m going to publish a new short story. I did it last week, on Jan. 1, just to kick the new year off right. But for the first few weeks, we’re going to have a new short story EVERY WEEK. Who says I’m not ambitious? The reason behind this schedule is threefold: 1) New, exclusive content is important to the life of any blog; 2) It’ll get me back into the habit of writing fiction every day, which is something I need to resume; and 3) I like to write and share stories. So there. If I become too focused on writing a novel that I can’t continue a weekly pace, the new story every month rule will still stand. Once the pace slows, Wednesdays will still be dedicated to exploring the art of fiction in some way or another.

And finally, Fridays: Author interviews. I’m very fortunate that I have some really good friends who have been published, are being published, or are self-publishing with degrees of success. I’m hoping to use some of my journalism experience/prowess to really explore interesting aspects of writing (as well as allow them to promote their work). For the first three months of 2014, I’m going to be interviewing novelists and exploring what traits, if any, they have in common. I may have to revisit this feature after the first three months, but I’m hoping to line up more and more authors as the year progresses.

Anyway, those are the details on the revamped bobthewriter.com. See you back on Wednesday, when I’ll share a creepy little story called “Daddy’s Girl.”

Cover reveal for M.B. Mulhall’s “Heavyweight”

MaryBeth Mulhall is one of my dearest friends, and she has struck a deal with Dreamspinner Press to publish her novel, Heavyweight. I read one of the early drafts, and it’s a good book, folks. I’m really proud for her. MB has self-pubbed a couple of books before this, but this is her first novel through a commercial publisher–it’s a breakthrough that many writers want, but never achieve. The novel will be released Jan. 23, 2014.

Heavyweight, a novel by MB Mulhall, centers on a high school wrestler hiding multiple secrets from his friends and family.

Heavyweight, a novel by MB Mulhall, centers on a high school wrestler hiding multiple secrets from his friends and family.

Here’s the cover, and let’s not forget the jacket copy:

Secrets. Their weight can be crushing, but their release can change everything—and not necessarily for the better. Ian is no stranger to secrets. Being a gay teen in a backwater southern town, Ian must keep his orientation under wraps, especially since he spends a lot of time with his hands all over members of the same sex, pinning their sweaty, hard bodies to the wrestling mat.

When he’s trying not to stare at teammates in the locker room, he’s busy hiding another secret—that he starves himself so he doesn’t get bumped to the next weight class.

Enter Julian Yang, an Adonis with mesmerizing looks and punk rocker style. Befriending the flirtatious artist not only raises suspicion among his classmates, but leaves Ian terrified he’ll give in to the desires he’s fought to ignore.

As secrets come to light, Ian’s world crumbles. Disowned, de-friended, and deserted by nearly everyone, Ian’s one-way ticket out of town is revoked, leaving him trapped in a world he hates—and one that hates him back.

The novel is a fascinating look at the fears that LGBTQ athletes have “coming out”–especially in their teen years. They worry (and probably rightly so) about how people around them would react to their sexual orientation. And sometimes they deal with that worry in unhealthy ways. Heavyweight is a gripping, challenging read. It’s listed as young adult fiction, but I’d say it’s fit for adults as well–especially adults who want to understand the challenging times LGBTQ teens face.

One last thing: I’m so proud of my friend MB. She’s one of those writers who really pursues the craft of writing with such passion that it makes me jealous. I wish I had half of her drive. If I had, I’d have probably written and published ten books by now. Take a look at her book. It’s worth a read. Or two.

Print and ebook copies can be pre-ordered at http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

Short story: A New Man

We’re starting 2014 off right, with a never-before published short story by yours truly. I wrote it a couple of years ago, and it never found a good home. It’s maybe a little more literary than a great deal of stuff I write, but I enjoyed writing it, and finding it several years later, I also enjoyed re-reading it. Enjoy!

A New Man

Short Fiction by Bobby Mathews

He started off easy – a simple trick to relax his muscles and his mind. The coin, glinting in the early morning sunlight, slipped easily from the thumb and forefinger of his left hand into his right palm. From there he let the quarter slide down his wrist into the cuff of his slightly bagged sleeve. He opened his palms wide for the small, scattered group of onlookers. Nothing in either hand. The little crowd clapped. A couple of the girls laughed. And almost all of them dropped money into the battered black tuba case that lay on the grass near his feet. Some of it was bills. Some of it was change. And some was seed money he put in there himself.

Logan Carson never talked to the people who passed by the quad on their way to classes at the university. His voice was too high, too nasal to be a pitchman. Instead he relied on the tricks to draw the people in. The tricks weren’t magic – or at least not all of them were. Some little sleight-of-hand he had picked up in his travels, but he could never call himself a magician. He couldn’t produce a dove from a wand, or make a rabbit disappear from a hat. But getting a coin to disappear? That was easy. Money always tried to vanish anyway. To make it disappear was natural. Continue reading

A little writing sample

I’ve been working on a novel, tentatively called “The Antioch Curve” (after going through multiple other titles and never finding anything satisfactory). Set in Alabama during Prohibition, it’s the story of an African-American moonshiner who falls in love with the wife of the Treasury Department official who’s looking to put him out of business–or in the ground.

Below is the first chapter. I hope you like it.

Chapter 1

Boone crouched behind the wide bole of a pecan tree and waited for them to come. He heard them before he saw them, clumsy cursing city men in the woods. They crushed leaves underfoot, broke branches with their grasping, thick hands. They slid and slipped on the slick old Indian trail, but they came anyway, relentless like the march of time. There were three of them, single file as if they were on parade. They wore dark suits, narrow ties and white shirts. Their shoes were caked with mud and twigs. The suit coats swung open occasionally to show guns in clamshell holsters attached to their belts. Gold badges hung from their lapels. Government men. In their hands they carried tools to break and crush what Boone had built.

Boone wished he had a rifle. The double-barrel shotgun he held was no good at this range. He could wait and watch. And if they found the decoy, everything was all right. But if they found the still – the real one – Boone would kill them. He would do it without hesitation and without regret. A man had to earn a living. The shotgun wasn’t heavy in his hands. After a year of carrying it every day, of shooting snakes and feral hogs, the gun was an extension of himself, a natural appendage. He crept forward, silent as a phantom, and laid the shotgun barrel into the fork of a tree to steady his aim. He was still too far away to do any good with the shotgun, but the act made him feel better.

Around Boone the woods were quiet except for the heavy breathing and clumsy travel of the men ahead. It was spring – green and gold dappled together like a rich tapestry. Here in the shadows of the pecans, the pines and the maples, Boone remained hidden. His overalls were stained nearly colorless, and his heavy woolen work shirt was a few shades lighter than his skin. As the men rounded another bend, Boone saw the leader’s head come up.

He’d spotted the decoy. It wasn’t much – just a single pot still with a lot of worn-out copper tubing. The still itself had never been used, but the tubing had been discarded from Boone’s real still – a much larger and complicated affair. A few ceramic jugs of watered-down liquor were cached nearby. Hidden, but not difficult to find. It should be enough to satisfy them.

The government men went at the still like men who enjoyed their work. They’d brought along axes and pickaxes, and the sound of the blades striking and squalling against the metal still made Boone wince. Soon they had flattened the decoy, shredded it into nothing usable or recognizable. When they were done, the agents wiped their brows with clean white handkerchiefs. Once they had rested, the revenuers went looking for Boone’s cache. They found it after about five minutes, and then put their tools to work breaking glass. There was enough liquor in the jugs so they could smell the fumes, but mostly what was spilled onto the earth was water.

Boone couldn’t help himself. He grinned, his teeth a bright contrast to the dark mahogany of his face. Careful to make no noise, he shifted the gun barrel up and slipped back until he was sure he could circle around the decoy and away from the real still.

His path brought him closer to the agents. One of them scribbled something down in a notebook while the other two sat on a fallen log and picked mud from their shoes.

“They always think they can get away with it,” one of the seated agents said. A pickax leaned against the tree beside him.

“That’s because so many of them do, Max.”

The one who spoke this time was the one with a pen and notepad in his hands. He was taller than the other two, his suit a little better quality. His voice was sharp and nasal, maybe Boston. And Boone noticed that this agent’s shoes weren’t in as bad shape as the other two. This one might know what he was doing.

Boone knew it was dangerous, but he wanted to get closer, wanted to see what the one agent was doing with his pad and pen. He slithered closer, his gun up and at the ready. But by the time he got closer, the revenuer answered his question.

“We seized and destroyed a hundred-gallon pot still and fifteen gallon jugs of unlicensed liquor,” he said. “That seem right to you?”

“Sure,” the one called Max said. “Why not?”

The standing agent shook his head.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Something’s just off. We’ve seen decoys before.”

Now the third agent looked up from his shoes.

“Yeah, but copper’s expensive, Ron. You never see that much copper on a decoy.”

It was true, and it was the very reason Boone put the copper tubing on the decoy. It was supposed to lend an air of authenticity. But something had the one agent – Ron – worried.

Now the one called Max took out a pack of cigarettes and shook one out. He lit it with a paper match, which he shook out and dropped on the ground. The smell of tobacco smoke was sharp and acrid in the fresh air. Ron came over and stepped on the match to make sure it was out. No words were said, but Boone thought the gesture showed contempt. Maybe these guys were on the same team, but they didn’t necessarily like each other.

“Do we wait, see if somebody comes up to check this still?”

“You mean stake it out?”

Ron said, “Just for a little while.”

Max and the other agent looked at each other and shrugged. Max smoked one butt down and started on another, lighting the new cigarette from the smoldering end of the first. Ron never sat, never stopped moving. He didn’t smoke. He simply waited.

Boone faded back deeper into the woods. He circled the decoy again, going back the way he’d come. He moved on the balls of his feet like a dancer, his moccasins making no noise as he moved through the underbrush.

The real still was only a mile away, nestled in a small hollow beneath an enormous oak. Boone moved slowly to make sure he wasn’t followed, circling back on his own path and taking time to listen. By the time he got to the hollow, Gerald already had the fire going underneath the still. They used dry hickory or birch for the most part, and the little smoke the fire gave off was dispersed through the thick boughs of the overhanging trees. Nearby was a small stream where nearly sixty gallons of high-test moonshine was secured. Boone whistled before he came into camp, a drawn out “bob-white” bird call. After a second Gerald answered with the same call.

Boone stepped into the clearing with his shotgun slung over one shoulder.

“What took so long?” Gerald said. “Didn’t think you were going to make it, so I figured I’d start the next batch without you.”

He wasn’t going to do any such thing, and they both knew it. But sometimes Gerald forgot he wasn’t in charge out here – that making the moonshine was Boone’s one-and-only real job. Gerald was the driver, the front man, greasing palms where he needed, collecting the cash, and outrunning the law when necessary, too.

He was a country boy, opposite Boone in nearly every way. Blonde, with milky skin that burned pink every summer. Gerald’s nose peeled perpetually, and his eyebrows and eyelashes were so light they were nearly impossible to see.

Boone didn’t answer Gerald’s question. He leaned the shotgun against the big oak and got to work. While the fire warmed the still, Boone took the newest batch of liquor and wrestled the big washtub over to a small screen lined with charcoal. He used a hollowed-out gourd as a dipper, pouring the moonshine through the screen to catch any impurities. Occasionally Boone would shake the screen like a miner panning for gold. The shine slid down into a tin funnel where it poured into a clay jar. When the jar was full, Boone would stopper it with a cork and set the jug aside to be cached with all of the other jugs by the stream. It was easy work, busy work for his hands, a chance to let his mind relax after observing the revenuers at the decoy still. Gerald had been working with him for a few months by that point and understood when Boone wanted to be left alone.

“What you get for the last load?” Boone said after a while.

“Hundred and twenty dollars, a ham and a side of bacon,” Gerald said.

“Shit,” Boone said. He kept pouring the liquor through the screen. “Not bad for a week’s work.”

Most folks – the ones who still had a job – were making a dollar a day. Gerald would take a third of the money and half the ham and bacon. All he had to do was drive and keep his mouth shut, and there weren’t going to be any soup kitchens or bread lines in his future. Still, it was in Gerald’s nature to worry.

“Got a lot more folks wanted to trade this time,” he said. “Money’s scarce and getting worse. They read about how bad it is all over, and nobody wants to spend a dime.”

Boone corked another jug and set it aside.

“They won’t spend it in a store,” Boone said. “But their whiskey’s a different matter. We won’t need to do too much trading. Not yet, anyway.”

Gerald nodded, even though Boone wasn’t looking at him. He went away and stoked the fire beneath the still, watched the coals begin to glow white beneath the rounded pot bottom. He could hear the liquid bubbling inside. Boone had something on his mind, and sooner or later he’d tell Gerald what it was. It was the way Boone’s mind worked – he thought a lot, but said as little as possible. At least during the time Gerald had known him.

When Boone finally emptied the washtub full of shine, Gerald took the washtub and set it back underneath the rubberized hose that hung from a length of copper tubing. The tube carried the condensed alcohol away from the heat of the still, and they were able to clamp the hose shut until it was time to pour the liquor into the tub. Gerald undid the clamp and let the shine drip down into the tub while Boone carried the clay jars – all but one – down to their hiding place.

When he came back, he popped the cork out of the remaining jar and hoisted it over his elbow. He looked at Gerald.

“To your health,” Boone said, and tipped the jar toward his lips. He took a long swallow and felt the liquor bloom like distant, warm fire in his chest. When he took the jar away from his mouth there was a smile on his face. He handed the jar to Gerald.

“Go on,” he said. “Ain’t nobody around to see you drink after a nigger.”

Gerald blushed. But he couldn’t help wiping the mouth of the jar with his sleeve. He hoisted the jar in much the same way that Boone did, and drank a deep slug. When he was done he breathed out slowly.

“Go on,” Boone said. “Take another one.”

Gerald tipped the jar toward his face again. As he drank he heard Boone get up. When the hammers eared back on the shotgun, Gerald dropped the jar. Moonshine spilled out on the ground and trailed away as the jar rolled off into the underbrush. Gerald was looking into the twin eyes of the shotgun barrels. He tried to swallow, but he couldn’t. His throat was dry, and the whiskey-fire in his belly felt as cold as ice now.

“I saw some revenuers at the decoy today,” Boone said. “Tell me who you been talking to before I blow your fool head off.”

A lesson I needed to learn

On the verge of a major life change, I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

A few years ago, I was committed to the idea that my novels/short stories were going to be my calling. My true calling. You have to understand that I was in a horrible place professionally. I’d been a newspaper professional for a number of years, but journalism — especially in the newspaper world — was changing quickly. There were fewer people to do the work. The hours were longer than ever, and the rewards were fewer and fewer. I was ground down to the nub.

Looking back at some old journal entries, I can tell you I was probably as unhappy as I’ve ever been.

So I quit journalism. I didn’t just quit the paper. I was so worn down, so flat-out tired, that I couldn’t do it anymore. I used to believe that good journalism was a high and holy calling. Maybe it still is, to some folks. I know there are places out there who are still doing quality reporting.

I moved to Tuscaloosa about five years ago. Married my fiancee’. Found a great group of friends. Bought a house and two cars. Had a kid. My life was good. Except for that pesky professional thing. I was never really happy anywhere I landed after working in journalism for so long.

So I bounced around a bit. Did some studio photography and some public relations/marketing. Bartended some. I even worked as a stay-at-home dad for several months. Talk about a full-time job.

From the time I moved to Tuscaloosa, I’d set my priority on landing at The University of Alabama. I applied for everything under the Sun. Office associate, office pool, program assistant, whatever they had available that I thought I could do. I applied for 25 jobs at the university over 4+ years.

I never heard anything back from ANY of those applications, until the last two. Think about that for a second. I pounded my head against the wall of futility for nearly half a decade. I often wonder if it left a mark.

Last fall, I did hear back, though–landing an interview for a media relations position. Based on my writing samples, journalism history, and my ability to interview well, I very nearly got the job. It was not-quite-soul-crushing when I didn’t get it. There was a lot of moping around the house.

When another media relations position opened up, I almost didn’t apply for it. I was ready to quit, ready to just give up. My wife talked me into applying for it. In the meantime I’d registered with a temp agency and landed a job as a graphic designer.

Then one day about three weeks ago, I got the call for another interview. Did I go? Does a one-legged duck swim in a circle? A few days later, the university requested a background check. This was a key step toward getting hired. Of course I agreed to the check. And then waited.

And waited some more.

The days that followed were so LONG. Never mind that it only took a week or so! I was on edge. Pins and needles, if you’ll allow me the cliche’.

I heard back last Friday. I got the job. Put in my notice with the temp agency and the very nice folks I’m designing for. I start as a communications specialist in media relations on August 1. I can’t wait. All of that time spent fruitlessly applying, waiting, and hoping doesn’t seem so bad now.

But the larger lesson I learned is something I will apply to my fiction writing. Persistence pays off. Did it take years and years to find my perfect professional opportunity? You bet. It’s going to take persistence for me to take my fiction to the next level as well. I’m disappointed I don’t have an agent or a publishing contract yet. But if I keep putting one word in front of the other, keep trying to make connections in the publishing world, keep moving forward, then my time may come around.