Publication Notes: “Benefactors of Silence” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 243, January 2018

I’m still gobsmacked by the way this story got accepted and published!

It happened like this: Every semester I make my class on dialogue with students rather adventurous. I tend to make 2-3 students stage an impromptu sketch, and I ask the rest to write their own flash fiction based on the sketch their friends come up with. Additionally, I teach them to format dialogue by writing my own short dialogue for them.

I do this in real time. It’s a no guts, no glory situation. Also, I’m a bit of a show-pony sometimes like that.

So I sat down last year in class and typed out this dialogue between two characters. And as I typed it, the story grew, and grew. Students watched as I wrote “You will never be Lusini”, watched as it became a 300-word flash piece, on the powerpoint slide. Later, after their sketch, while they were writing down their own flash fiction pieces, I finished the story and turned it into a 700-word flash piece. I was also talking to them about narrative voice and mentioned that Beneath Ceaseless Skies had very specific editorial directions when it came to voice. I wrote it in a limited first person POV, and showed them how to format it in Standard Manuscript Formatting to illustrate the voice/style that might fit this publication.

Later that night, after coming home I was going to send it to DSF because it was short. But the story grew, and grew into a tale of Lusini, that’s been haunting me since I finished writing Butter-Daughters, and then started penning its sequel. And I thought about how much I wanted to be published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

The story was already over 1k words and so with a deep breath I lobbed it at BCS and was completely astounded when it went into revisions (customary for BCS) and then I was given a contract. It was — almost fairytale-like in how surreal the whole process was. I kept pinching myself. I’m still pinching myself, to be honest!

But I was also so happy to be able to give my students a happy ending to that adventurous exercise in teaching creative writing and I hope they will also be brave enough to submit more of their own works!

Another thing I love about this piece is that it returned to me a kind of lyrical style of writing I had when I was younger but which disappeared during and after my work on my PhD dissertation. I mourned the loss of that voice and was so glad it came back to me.

Benefactors of Silence in Beneath Ceaseless Skies  , Issue 243, 18 January 2018.