It was so odd, getting this random message at 2 a.m. with my cell phone in one hand and a hot toddy in the other, wedged between two friends on a couch we'd pulled up in front of her brick oven to keep warm as snow whooshed wildly outside.
Stories come out of moment like this, and so before I let myself sleep on it, as I normally might, I wrote him back and then wrote down some notes so that I wouldn't lose any momentum when I went to put pen to paper the next day.
The product of those notes, "Passenger," became a short memoir about the driver I befriended in India in 2004. Thankfully for Facebook, I can check in, but since he hasn't posted in the couple of years since I heard from him, I doubt social media is any sort of priority.
I've sent out "Passenger" more than a handful of times to places I thought it'd be a perfect fit, only to receive a rejection. And once, a publication that shall remain nameless considered it for over a year before finally replying that they liked it, but just couldn't figure out how it could be "a cohesive fit with their overall style," whatever that meant.
But something in me told me that it did have a home somewhere. On a whim, recently, and with a few minutes to spare between classes, I sent it out again with absolutely no intention to hear back. And then, not even a week later, I received a lovely email from two editors:
We love it and would like to feature it in a future issue . . . . It's a beautifully sensitive and nuanced piece with a wonderful sense of place.
I suppose it's true what I keep hearing: write what you love, edit, and keep sending, sending, sending.
Check back here to link to "Passenger" when it's up!