Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Breakthrough at last

So I achieved a dream of sorts this Sunday. After years of struggle, I found out I'll finally be published, with Pioneer Drama Service accepting my one-act film noir spoof The __urloined Letter for publication this fall.

I've been writing stories since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and writing every day since 1997--when I was a tender young 34. Since then, I've completed three middle-grade novels, several picture books, four plays and four screenplays. And over that same time period, I've racked up a staggering number of rejections.

At one time I was keeping track of them, but I finally gave up when I surpassed the 160 rejections that Jack London got while he was trying to break in. (I believe the only author who had more rejections was the mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner, who reportedly received a whopping 900 rejections before having anything accepted for publication.)

As a theatre critic and film reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette, I've had over 50 newspaper articles published. But it's not the same. There isn't the same sense of permanence, even if the articles are archived in the black hole we call the Internet.

So yeah, it feels good. Damn good.

For one thing, it legitimizes my choice to spend an hour a day pounding away at a keyboard when I could be drinking cheap Shiraz on my sun-dappled deck.

For another, it inspires me to write more plays.

But as good as it feels, it doesn't come near to the joy I felt when I first saw the play performed at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale last year.

Seeing the talented young actors bring my words to life, hearing the audience's laughter and, as I like to remember it, their thunderous applause, gave me a deeper satisfaction than anything I have ever done. And it answered the question that has been bugging me since I was a kid:

What do I want to be when I grow up?

The best part of getting my play published is that I may just get the opportunity to see it performed again. And that would be worth more than any royalties I could ever receive.

Just don't tell Pioneer that.