Here’s what showed up on my Facebook feed this morning—a memory from 6 years ago today.
I can’t believe it was that long ago that I was receiving critiques of the first chapter of my memoir, “Hiking Naked” (you can read a version of that draft at http://sharkreef.org/non-fiction/hiking-naked/).
Much has happened since that August residency of the Whidbey MFA program. Now I’m a graduate of the program (here I am in 2014, surrounded by members of my writing group who cheered me on at my graduation). And I’m still lucky to be part of the community of skillful writers and teachers I met at Whidbey, but, sadly, the program has closed.
During the first year after I graduated: I sought an agent (was rejected by some very good ones) as I revised the manuscript some more; I entered contests that would lead to publication (received a lovely rejection from one and was a finalist in another) while revising the manuscript again; and, while tinkering a bit more, I researched small presses that accept un-agented manuscripts.
That’s when I found a perfect fit at Homebound Publications. Two years after that first discovery of a home for my book, I had a contract with Homebound; my manuscript had been revised once again following review by my editor, Leslie M. Browning; we selected a photograph by Nancy Barnhart that Leslie used for the cover; I had dinner with my publisher (our first face-to-face meeting); and my manuscript—now a book—was off to the printer.
Soon (just six years and one month after my MFA classmates critiqued that first chapter), I hope to be surrounded again by my writing group, friends, and family at my book launch on Lopez Island.
On September 16, 2017 there are bound to be more good memories to look back on—with or without Facebook’s help.