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Getting a Story Accepted Is Kind of Like Being Asked to Homecoming

Getting a Story Accepted Is Kind of Like Being Asked to Homecoming

When I was a junior in high school, I was asked to the Homecoming Dance by a boy named Jason, although the actual “asking” sounded something like this: “Degra said you need someone to take you to Homecoming, so if you want I guess I can go with you.”

I was momentarily at a loss for what to say. It was true, I did need someone to take me to Homecoming, and apparently my best friend, Degra, was spreading the word around. And Jason was an okay date. He was a friend of mine, or, at least, he was friends with my friends, which was pretty much the same thing. He was taller than me (always a plus in high school), and he wasn’t bad looking, although with his shaved head and trench coat he was a little bit too close to a Travis Bickle look-alike for my tastes. But, all-in-all, he was fine.

The problem was, there were other boys at school who I would have rather gone to Homecoming with. Boys I thought were cuter. Boys I had crushes on. But the likelihood of those boys asking me was slim. One of them had a girlfriend, and the other was not the type to attend school functions. But a girl could always hope…

So there I was with a choice to be made. I could say no to Jason and stay available for one of my dream boys, but I would run the serious risk of not having a date at all.

Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver.  (photo from wikipedia)

Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver — not my date to Homecoming (photo from wikipedia)

I recently had the same sort of situation. I had sent a story of mine to about ten different literary magazines and one contest, and I had already received a handful of rejections. And then, the other day, I got an acceptance email. A new, online literary magazine wanted to publish my story!

But I was still waiting to hear back from Zoetrope, Prairie Schooner, and a contest judged by Kate Bernheimer…. In other words, magazines and editors who I have crushes on.

I wondered what to do. I could decline the nice literary magazine that had accepted me and keep my story available for one of the magazines I was really excited about, but the chances that they were going to accept my story were slim. Zoetrope has rejected everything I’ve ever sent them, and Prairie Schooner is super popular and probably gets approximately a million fiction submissions a year.

I was momentarily at a loss for what to do.

Eva and Jason

Eva and Jason

In the end, I said yes to Jason. I knew he was probably my only option, and really, he was a good option. Yeah, he was sort of a weirdo, but at least he danced with me. And, to be honest, I was a weirdo, too. The night of Homecoming, I discovered I had a large, unsightly pimple on my back, so I covered it up with a temporary tattoo of Medusa. And instead of giving Jason a boutonniere, I gave him a Michael Jackson pin with army men dangling off of it. So…in other words, I think it was the right match for me at the time.

And, in the end, I said yes to the online magazine. After all, my story is kind of a weirdo. It’s about a girl who wakes up one morning to find a second pair of hands sprouting out of her wrists. In other words, I think I’m lucky that it’s getting accepted anywhere at all, and it’s probably the right match for me at the time.  Besides, this magazine is new, so who knows, maybe some day it will become one of the cool, popular lit mags all the girls have crushes on. And I can say that I was featured in Issue #2.

A writer can always hope…

I was not the only one to give my date a weird boutonniere.  Notice what my friend Degra made for her Homecoming date.

I was not the only one to give my date a weird boutonniere. Notice what my friend Degra made for Cory, her Homecoming date.  


About evalangston

Eva Langston is a writer, among other things.

4 responses »

  1. Eva, this just made me die laughing as I thought about all of the awkward PH homecoming date disasters I dealt with! Hope you’re doing well!

  2. Yep, I remember that picture, and yes, I think you made the right choice–both times! Keep writing!


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