“Shades of Water”: blue not gray

I’ve spent most of my life writing.  For much of my career I churned out letters from the superintendent and school board, news releases, and newsletters. Long ago these made  their last journey to the recycling station, occasionally stopping first to be shredded.  That’s why I’m thrilled that the class anthology for Popular Fiction 1, my last year’s writing course, is available — in print and on-line.  It includes my short story, “The Main Course,” a tale of family, thwarted dreams, and pickled chiles. As far as I know, the book hasn’t been out long enough to be discarded, much less shredded.

The University of Washington sponsored the anthology project, which was open to all the writing certificate program classes by genre. About ten of us in Popular Fiction participated, and those who didn’t are now saying, “I wish I’d done that. I’m definitely going to get involved in this year’s anthology.”

Why is the publication of a short story that thirty people at most might read, that is, assuming all my friends for whom I have purchased paperback copies as Christmas presents read it and some of my classmates’ friends, so important? Mostly because after I dedicated so much time and effort to the project, I want someone besides my spouse to appreciate my work.

Also, having a substantial tangible product is a reward. In our so-called knowledge economy as well as in the service industry, workers often repeat the same activity over and over. I wrote more than five hundred school board meeting summaries, publications with a shelf life of thirty seconds, undoubtedly producing the same sense of accomplishment as changing the sheets on the same beds day after day must give a hotel maid.

As recently as yesterday, I was thinking about not getting involved in the upcoming  anthology project, since the last one took me away from my other writing for at least three weeks. However, given that the odds against my novel crossing successfully through the unpredictable and risky waters of publishing are about the same as a salmon completing its life cycle and returning home safely to spawn, I’m rethinking that decision. Having two stories in publications would be very satisfying. Equally important it would simplify the problem of choosing Christmas gifts for a second year.

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About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness.
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4 Responses to “Shades of Water”: blue not gray

  1. Unnati says:

    The anthology is available for purchase here – http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3557189
    Ann – this is wonderful!

  2. Genevieve says:

    What a great gift…does it include a recipe?

  3. Pingback: Shades of Water | Genevieve Olivarez

  4. Martha says:

    The web site noted by Unnati above also allows you to read the entire book in preview mode, and I must admit I read your story that way. Maybe I will buy myself a Christmas gift of the book also.
    I really enjoyed “The Main Course.” It has a great opening sentence and the story churns right along. (I did guess the ending, though. I’m thinking I was probably supposed to.) My favorite phrase, after the great opening, is “…the clouds hung around as if they had more work to do.”

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