Sorting old files this week, I came across my first-ever short story acceptance letter - from Amazing Stories, on February 1, 1994.
The story was "Every Comfort of Home."
I still remember the feeling I got, reading the letter. I was living in a townhouse complex back then, and I'd walked out to the mailbox, and of course, seeing the envelope, I tore it open and started reading (as one does) while I was still walking, the rest of the mail tucked under my arm.
It was a long letter - almost a full page, typed. I was three lines in before I realized that the editor was saying "yes, we're taking it."
And I stopped dead, in the middle of the parking lot, and felt... Astonished? Amazed? Tearful? All of the above. That first sale, the first "yes, we accept you as a competent professional, here's your check" is a feeling that should never be forgotten, or downplayed.
I remembered all that, re-reading this letter. But it reminded me of something else, too.
"Comfort" was a good story, a solid story that pleased the editor (Kim Mohan) but I've...never been entirely happy with how it turned out. It was very ambitious, trying to tell a story within the story being told, and I know (knew) I didn't have the skills as a 20-something to hit both marks perfectly.
So now part of me's thinking "well then...try again. Write the story you couldn't, almost twenty years ago. See if you can do it now. See how different it turns out (or doesn't)." And part of me's thinking "what, because you don't have ENOUGH to do, already?"
*tucks that away in the think-about-it file*
- As we go through the year-end detritus....