Good Stuff

water-lilliesToday I have good news to share!

A glimpse at the day-to-day first: I’m at the tail-end of a very challenging season in which I’ve had to hold down the proverbial fort with home and children for three months while my husband studies for a big engineering test. (The test is April 13th! Wish him luck!)

I have been faced repeatedly with depression, exhaustion, and feelings of overwhelm as I’ve tried to meet the additional chores and hours of childcare that this season requires. Reminding myself that is it a temporary challenge has only been mildly helpful. We’ve been met with kind offers of meals and friends who hang out with me while I can’t see James. This has been a mercy. But I still have, I admit, thrown multiple adult tantrums.

In the midst of this not-so-healthy season, James and I both decided we’d try going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I began writing early in the morning, before the kids woke, instead of after they went down for naps (by which time I was routinely wrung-out). James now comes home earlier for dinner and the result is we all have more time together in the evenings, without such a mad rush through dinner and routine.

A few weeks ago, I’d received a rejection for a short story that sent me spiraling down. I had reason to suspect my story was of high interest to the journal, only to receive a form rejection in the end. (you didn’t even like it???) It was dashed hope that made me so despondent. I don’t think I’d have been nearly so troubled if they hadn’t held on to it for a long time.

What did I do with my artistic angst? I found means to channel it. Overhearing a conversation with another writer friend, I decided to join a subscription service that streamlines the hunt for publishers and makes a tailored search much simpler. (Writers, if you are trying to publish and you haven’t heard of Duotrope, check it out!)

I’m sharing the valleys that lead up to the “hooray moment” because I want my blog posts to be as honest as possible. Advertising only the good stuff is misleading and harmful to everyone involved, if you ask me.

Elise has a new short story published! I couldn’t tell you if it was the subscription to Duotrope that brought this about, but I have channeled my energy toward short fiction publishing in a much more focused way, and here is the first fruit!

Summer of the Lilies, a literary short story, has been accepted and published by Longshot Island. Read Summer of the Lilies here.

Writing has so many similarities to life. The “good stuff” that is truly exciting to share is often sprinkled lightly among lots of toil and frustration. I am grateful for this moment of rejoicing, grateful for the faithful friends who cheer me on, for the fellow artists who inspire me, for the God who planted this passion in my heart.

Hope you enjoy the story!

Love,

Elise

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

Comments

Good Stuff — 1 Comment

  1. Elise, your story is fascinating – i love how you described things, and you must have had fun finding whimsical things for Grandma Mary to do. I knew it was a short story and that her grandma was going to die, but i still felt robbed at the end that there wasnt more to read, i wanted to keep reading about these characters. I expected more of an obvious, lengthier discussion between Lila and Mary. But, as so often happens with real life, simple things are profound. “Your beautiful” meant more to her than a thousand words. I was especially touched by this story because i just went through letters from Grandma Stepehens this weekend, one written shortly before she went to be with the Lord.
    Praying for you and James this week. We all have struggles, dont we? I came across this verse today in Micah 7 “when i sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me”. And it encouraged me that no matter what our trials or failures, God is constant and He is able to bring light and joy to a weary heart.

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