June 13, 2019 marked 1 ½ years since my mum died and just like last year, this year’s June anniversary also hit hard.
I woke up sad because I had one of those dreams about my mum where she is still alive and it is always so upsetting to wake up and remember that she is dead. Then I realised that I still did not have electricity and I moved from sad to sad x mad. My electricity went at some point on Tuesday night and waking up on Thursday morning to find I still did not have electricity had me absolutely fuming. More so because while I did not have electricity inside my house, the outside of my house as well as 6 of my 15 neighbours had electricity the whole time. So I was really feeling some typa way by the time I was leaving the house and it only got worse as I went about my morning in the office.
But leave it to life to break your heart and mend it on the same day. Later that morning I received an email from Sanaa, the Managing Editor at Yummy Magazine, informing me that I had won a flash fiction writing competition and I went from sad to glad real quick.
One of my dream jobs is to write for Yummy Magazine. I love to write and I love food so being paid to write about food is the stuff dreams are made of. So earlier in the year when the magazine sent out an email with, in part, a request for contributors I emailed Sanaa to express my interest.
What a motherphucking intentional email, if I do say so myself. Sanaa called me a few days later as she was really impressed with it (duh!) and asked me to come in for a meeting. We met at the Yummy offices but as we talked I realised it is not going to be as easy as I thought. I have not given up though, which is why if you have noticed in my gym pics I have a business card with the EatOut logo in my phone case. That is Sanaa’s business card and it serves as a daily reminder that I need to write something for the magazine. Maybe completing one piece might just toa lock. Lol.
So when I saw their call to action for submission of flash fiction writing for the wine themed edition of Yummy I knew I had to try because if there is something I love as much as I love food it is wine. But Lawd it was not easy! The request for submissions was put up on Monday 3rd June and the deadline was the following Monday. For most of the week I struggled with shitty plotlines and even shittier writing. I have shared how in primary school I almost always had the best compositions but somehow as I grew up my ability to write fiction dwindled. Which is laughably ironic as I read a shitload of fiction 😐
In between shitty plotlines and even shittier writing I entertained thoughts of giving up and waiting for the next one. But, as my BFF says, I am committed to seeing things to the very end. So I studied the fuck out of how to write flash fiction, paying attention to what makes a good microstory, and eventually my tenacity paid off. I had a breakthrough on Friday and I was able to start and finish my piece that day.
Now. I have this thing where if I really really really want something I do not tell anyone about it because:
- I am afraid to jinx it. (Case in point when I was afraid to hope out loud that my mum might walk again.)
- I hate how I feel when something does not work out and someone else is privy to my disappointment. Disappointment is my worst feeling (yes I really have a worst feeling) and I have a deep-seated aversion to the vulnerability that comes with opening up about my desires in case they do not come to fruition. I hate the conversation that ensues when things do not work out and the person privy to my disappointment tries to comfort and reassure me. I know that is what a good friend is supposed to do but that conversation just makes me feel worse. Hmmm … I wonder where all that comes from. Perhaps I should dig into it with my therapist.
But I wanted to win the writing competition sooo badly because:
- The prizes are fucking awesome.
2. The first year or so in a writer’s journey is about affirmation and what is more affirmative than winning a writing competition.
So I did what does not come naturally to me: I let someone in knowing there is potential for disappointment. I shared my piece with a colleague and asked him to look it over and share his feedback, something I do not do because as Erykah Badu says at the beginning of Tyrone, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.” But in addition to sharing it with my colleague for his feedback I also opened up to him about how badly I wanted to win the competition despite how unsettling verbalising my desires is for me.
After a final read through I submitted my piece on Sunday 9th at 4:20 p.m. (hehe!) Between Monday and Wednesday I must have refreshed my Gmail a million times to find out if I had won, but with the way I was sad x mad on Thursday 13th I did not check my email until midmorning. Midmorning may not seem like a long time to wait, and usually it is not, but I really did refresh my Gmail countless times between Monday and Wednesday.
I guess it was what my friend Phoolendu at the yoga studio would call kismet. That’s like fate, but much more dramatic.
I have said before that I am deliberate with the words I use and I do not believe that just because certain words are synonymous with each other they are weighted the same. I use the word kismet when what is predetermined feels more intentional than good ol’ fate.
This is the first time the magazine has ever had a flash fiction writing competition. To make things better for me, the theme (wine) was on something I have a deep love, appreciation and enthusiasm for. The wine edition of Yummy could have been for any other month of the year, but it was for the June issue. A month when the 13th is particularly difficult for me because it is two days away from when my mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Sanaa could have sent the email on any other day that week but she sent it on Thursday, a day when I needed something good so badly. The way everything aligned is, to me, nothing short of kismet.
I have this thing I started last year on my 31st birthday called ‘This Time Next Year’ that I borrowed from a TV show of the same name. I make a list of things I would like to achieve by this time next year and one of the items on my list for 31 was to write for Yummy Magazine. It may not be the way I envisioned it but I did end up with a published piece in the magazine. And. It. Feels. So. Damn. Good!! Especially because the only thing they edited in my story was to change The Office to The Office. It is extremely euphoric to know that my submitted piece was good enough to (more or less) go straight to print. As I said earlier in the year, I’mma make 2019 my bitch!