First publication is calming; my work has finally paid off, literally. As always, God leads me but in a zigzag line.
A child at breakfast reads every word on the cereal box. That was me (not so much the French).
In my twenties I worked in a bank. One day I came out and tried to start my car. I looked and instead of the key I had attempted to put my pen in the ignition. Today my brain thinks a pen is an essential part of the body.
At meetings I have now disciplined myself to take notes on my iPhone. (My pen is ever ready in my bag for backup.) This summer my precious spare time has been spent shredding five years of note-taking files.
So, the other large percentage of effort this year has been about submitting work for publication: prose and poetry. Some had fees and some graciously accepted submissions gratis. After a ‘couple’ of rejections of my writing I decided to submit one of my painting images to Understorey Magazine, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. After a few weeks I was advised that “Taffeta Apron” was to be published paired with another woman’s story.
It took me a moment to review exactly what I had achieved. An editor, so personable, had praised my image. I would be paid by a university and had to phone them with my SIN.
The magazine is published online and my work is in the current issue together with a story called ‘Island Girl’. Although I had asked to read the story before my work was paired with it, I felt strange. I felt confused. Usually I self-publish my images with my own stories on a blog. This was an anomaly.
Issue 11 of Understorey Magazine is now published on the website! Look for “Taffeta Apron” (Acrylic on Linen, 36” x 24”) alongside the prose poem Island Girl by Susan Brigham. If you scroll to the end of the poem you can read our bios.
Mixed feelings are still with me. I am excited to have my visual work published. It is not the same as being juried into an art exhibition, which is a bit more ephemeral. A published work is always there for people to see. I am disappointed that it is not my writing to be published.
I have a resume for art and a CV for writing. Which is this then – a painting in a writing magazine? It is truly a mash-up, a crossover of genres – and a delight.
How did I do it?
- I prayed for help.
- I made work.
- I submitted work to any call that seemed to fit.
- I researched as a regular practice and kept making work.
- I accepted that not all of my work would be paid for and perhaps not even my most important work.
- I experimented a lot. Creative work is about process over product first.
- I calmly waited for some response from somewhere. Then celebrated.
“Taffeta Apron” 36″ x 24″, Acrylic on Linen, Deborah Stephan