Some things in life are luck and some things are perseverance and putting yourself out there. Some things are both, though not probably a 50/50 split. In fact, I don’t even like to think of the good things in life as being a ratio split between luck and effort, rather I like to believe that effort can lead you to lucky breaks that wouldn’t have otherwise been on your path had you not worked hard and been brave in the first place.
Right now I feel overwhelmed with luck. The masthead of Corona\Samizdat, Rick Harsch, reached out to me to ask if I had a book I’d like to publish with them. I told him YES and then promptly described my dialogue-only short story collection and emailed off links to some pieces from it published in zines. The thing is, I wasn’t actively even looking for a publisher. Only occasionally would I find myself working on one my dialogues, usually after I had heard about a themed anthology or magazine which one of my stories might go well with. I planned to wait until after I was finished editing my novel before working seriously on my dialogues. But then, the perfect publisher for this weird, little collection came knocking on my social media door.
How did I end up so lucky? I own . . . let me count them . . . eleven books published by this press (if I wasn’t on a book-buying ban without a gift card in hand, I’d own more). I adore Corona\Samizdat’s releases. Their covers are often enviable and trippy. They’re releasing some of the best experiments in literature bound in some of the most amazing cover art I’ve ever seen. So what in the world possessed Rick to reach out to me on the off chance I had a book just sitting around, unpublished or out of print? In short, how did I end up so lucky?
I’ve been on Instagram for over a year, but only this year have I really been figuring out how to properly use it (I don’t think I even owned a smart phone when I first signed up using a web browser; I intended to toy with advertising my Hello, Author interviews on the platform). It was on Instagram that I discovered Corona\Samizdat and began—as frugally as possible—buying their books. I followed them. They followed me back. I followed Rick. He followed me in turn. All the while, I began posting more bookish content.
It was on April 27th that I posted several photos of my office, the first one being a photo I took directly in front of the dusty TV screen I use as for my computer monitor when I’m editing. The accompanying text was this:
Me contemplating actually cleaning up the messy office which I haven’t really used for writing since December, as the Kanban board shows. Piles of paper litter the place, the desk is a wreck, and the book I’m writing increasingly wants the weight of the room lifted. It is an ideal writing space to boot.
We have finally found a new crew member at work, meaning that soon things should be normal. Normal for me means working only weekends and one evening a week. Normal also means I can try out a new writing routine. Since the baby was born less than 5 months ago, in December, I have been attempting to write while taking on the roll of full time dad. These past couple of weeks the baby has changed, is demanding more attention and thus more time. So I’m thinking now that I need to try writing later at night, after baby and wife are in bed. I think this may be my new way forward for writing.
It was the next day that Rick reached out to me asking if I had a book. It was pure luck . . . except for the parts that led up to the lucky break. Everything coalesced to put me on this path, from brute-force learning an app I find unintuitive and putting myself out there (shitty pictures and all) to denying myself small indulgences so I could comfortably buy a few extra books—it all led to Rick taking the time to read the words I wrote to accompany a weird selfie I snapped. It all led to my lucky break. I couldn’t have had this kind of luck without participating in the book and writing world of today’s social media. And I really couldn’t have have done it without Rick seeing my post and deciding to take a chance on me. So thank you, Rick.
I’m happy to announce that Dialogues: A Collection of Creative Conversations will be published at some unspecified time in the future by Corona\Samizdat. I’m working on edits. A couple of stories were inexplicably lost in the move from a rental to our house. I may also find that not all of the dialogues are actually salvageable in their current forms (and maybe even in their concepts). I know I’ll have at least 52 completed, but can’t say that all 52 will come from the 2018 self-imposed challenge of writing one story a week for a year using only dialogue. I feel incredibly lucky that I’ll be joining the Corona Crew—a group which includes Rick and all of the authors and illustrators he’s published through Corona\Samizdat. And hopefully the luck will keep coming as I get hard at work on this collection.