Friday, May 25, 2012

The Cake Lady

My mother's birthday was this week, and as a lover of cake I wrote this whimsical piece for her and decided to share it all with you.

Glenda woke up on her birthday with a pleasant surprise on her nightstand: her husband had left her a small slice of raspberry cake with orange meringue topping. She gobbled up the pastry in a flash, almost missing the note he left on the plate.
“My dearest love, I hope you enjoyed your breakfast, just a hint of what’s to come later today for you. Make sure you’re home by five for your big surprise.”
Glenda, spurred forward by the sugar rush, bypassed her normal morning coffee, and as soon as she was ready, departed out into the town.
Her first stop was to the nail salon. If there were any day to pamper herself, today was it. The workers startled her as soon as she walked in with a happy birthday cheer. She smiled and thanked them, especially when she saw the piece of black forest cake they had waiting for her. This was quite unusual, but her lust for cake coupled with the scent of the dark chocolate reduced the treat to mere three small crumbs too small for even a mouse in a single minute.
After her nails, she went to visit her mother. Still living by herself and feisty as ever, Glenda’s mother wouldn’t let her leave until she had a piece of homemade carrot cake.
When she went to the library to return a book, the librarians were waiting for her with lemon cake topped with chocolate frosting. The same thing at City Hall, but this time marble with white frosting.
At department store, school, post office, and even the mechanic, she was greeted with a cheer and a slice of cake. By now her stomach was filling up and she looked down at her watch, it was four thirty. She still had to go to the pharmacy, but as much as she liked cake, she dreaded what inevitably waited for her there.
Her old friend from school was behind the counter, holding something behind her back. Glenda mentally repeated to herself her husband’s promise of a big surprise and that she needed to save room. She must to buckle down and no matter how—
Red velvet.
There it was, the one cake she could never resist. Glenda picked up her pace and sprinted the remaining feet to the cake. She tried to eat it slow, savoring each bite, but the rich flavor and creamy frosting implored her keep going.
But now she had done it. With her gut about to burst, she paid for her prescription and drove back home to her husband waiting for her in their kitchen. On the counter next to him was a bouquet of flowers in her favorite vase as well as a small chocolate cake. “Two of your favorites.” He said. “Surprise.”
Glenda stepped closer to the cake. She could barely think of eating, but she had to know. Her husband nodded and said, “Chocolate buttercream.”
She turned away, bracing herself on the kitchen table. “I’m so sorry.”
“What for?”
“As much as I want to. I can’t. I’m too full from…eating cake all day.”
He put his arm around her. “How much did you—”
“Everywhere I went there was cake. I couldn’t help myself. It all looked so good. It must have been, I don’t know, fifteen to twenty pieces.”
Her husband backed away from her and started laughing. “How many errands did you run today?”
“Fifteen to twenty. What’s so funny?”
“I didn’t think you’d be that busy on your birthday. I thought you might stop at a couple places. The pharmacy for sure, that’s why they got the red velet—”
“It was you?” She asked, turning back to her husband. “You gave them all of that cake?”
“All except your mother, yes.”
“How many cakes were out there for me today?”
“Thirty five.” He said with a smug grin. “And don’t worry about this one. I baked it fresh about an hour ago: It’ll keep a for a while.”
“I think I could have at least one little slice.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I was going to write about rejection letters...

I was going to write about rejection letters seeing that on Monday I received my first ever one. It felt like a rite of passage and to be honest it wasn't all that painful. In fact, it was exciting to feel like a real member of the writing community. An odd reaction from what I understood to be a painful thing for a newbie to see, but I owe it to all my stabby friends not holding back punches to both make me a better writer but to also realize that my work is not perfect and will never be. Understanding that I am not god's gift to the writing world is one of the things that made this a positive experience.

And to further work my way through the disappointment, I even sent my story (An expansion of "The Townhome" that I turned into a short story) to 4 other places.

But the neat thing was that on Tuesday, the very day after my first rejection, "The Townhome" was accepted by Larks Literary Magazine. It's not exactly The New Yorker, but I'm excited none the less. Still, I'm left wondering if I should have set my sights higher and started with the Glimmer Trains, New Yorker, etc. and worked my way down to the lesser known markets.

However I was quite limited in where I could send that particular story because it was in my mind a "reprint" in that it was the same story I had previously published here, just expanded and refined. (part of the reason I've stopped posting my flash stories regularly) So when you take out the markets that do not accept reprints, I had lost those top tier publications.

What is probably unfortunate in my painless submission process is that I will be even more restrictive now in when I decide to post a story up here on my blog. I want to be able to go after those top tier markets and work my way down.

I had thought about only putting stories up on my blog that I did not want to submit anywhere, but in that case I would be watering down the writing I put up here. So I've decided that I will just have to publish the occasional story here and recognizable that it probably won't be able to be sent anywhere major and bite that bullet, because you all are part of the reason I've grown as much as I have.

I will try to do more of the reviews that I had gotten into writing as well as perhaps even getting back to selecting a #FridayFlash of the month as I'm still reading the great work the community is putting out each week. When when I'm feeling teacherly, I'll spout out my writing advice columns. But on the whole, there will be a significant decrease in the fiction that I put out here on my blog. Nevertheless, thank you all again.

So I guess this would have to be a celebration post encompassing a couple pretty exciting milestones in my writing career. Still, there are some good learning moments for me in this whole process and I look forward to putting it all to good use in the future.  

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