Earlier this week, the literary journal Wigleaf announced their Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions 2017 list, selected by the wonderful Amber Sparks, who wrote a fierce, necessary introduction to her choices:
"Why stories? Why now? After all, the thinking seems to go – at least, in my social media hive mind – there are more pressing matters, more urgent issues. More rallies to attend, more phone calls to make, more abuses of power to resist. And all this is true – and it is urgent – and it is necessary to respond to the tyranny of the moment with all of our force and might and voice. At the same time, though, I feel certain that to lose our sense of story is to capitulate more absolutely in the face of fascism than any other surrender we might make. The stories we tell are the shape of the world, and the warning of the world to come or the hope of the world we might make. Writers have a unique gift to offer to a sick and sore society: the stories that can keep us alive."
I was caught by surprise when I realized my story "Love Bugs" was on the longlist of stories considered for the Top 50. Over the years, I've browsed and read some stellar writers on the Wigleaf 50 and the longlist, and seeing my name included this year, alongside some staggeringly talented writers, was strange and lovely.
Writing should never be about publications or recognition, but real talk: this year has been hard for me in a creative sense. I'm working on some new stories and even outlining a second novel, but none of my work has been accepted for publication, and the process of finding an agent and/or publisher for my debut novel has led to dead ends and radio silence. I know this is part of the game at times, but more than once this year, I've felt nervous, worried about what my writing is doing, and battling strange, random bouts of impostor syndrome. So, to see myself included on a longlist was touching, because it reminds me that I am doing good work (most of the time, anyway), and I just need to keep pushing and working.
Thank you, Wigleaf. And congratulations to the Top 50 writers! I can't wait to catch up on all the great work published in the last year.