Lots of good stuff happening right now, so let’s jump right into it.
This morning I checked the Andromeda Spaceways facebook page (even though my Facebook account was closed months ago, I can still view their public posts). I found the following recent post which, I have to admit, honestly choked me up:
That’s my name right there near the end. Not another Jeff Reynolds, but me, appearing on a list of wonderful people whose stories and poetry are all being published in Andromeda Spaceways this month.
I’m not embarrassed at all to say this really did bring tears to my eyes. I’ll cry again when I get my PDF copy of the issue, and again when I purchase my hard copy (because I want a physical copy of it as well). When you try to get published at the age of twenty two and fail miserably, quit writing for twenty years, then spend the last eight years struggling, learning, giving up significantly portions of free time to writing activities, getting up at the crack-ass of dawn’s early light to put words down, spend hundreds (even thousands) to get to conventions where you can learn more and network with other writers who are all doing the same thing you are to try and get published… yes, tears are totally fine. You earned them. Let yourself cry.
I’ve wanted this since I was eight. I gave it up when I was twenty two because I wasn’t able to cope with rejection. And now. . . it feels like its finally happening. So yeah, I’m thrilled beyond belief, and a few happy tears are a small expenditure in expense of that feeling of joy I have.
I’m redesigning my life as a writer. And it’s taken a lot of work, but progress is being made.
Note: thank you to all the writers from my Viable Paradise group, and all the staff who have been supporting us. I wouldn’t have gotten to my first publication credit without you folks, as well as the love and support of my wife.
In additional to the anticipation of Andromeda Spaceways releasing issue #73, I’ve completed the redesign of my website. I found a new WordPress template I really liked and I’ve adopted it to my needs. There are still some minor things about it I’m not totally happy about – the way the posts on the front page aren’t the same size messes with the perfectionist side of me that wants all those boxes to be exactly the same dimensions – but overall it achieves the goals I had set. I wanted something that was simple, with clean typeface and a nice clean look, and it definitely has that. The old template was nice, but it was feeling a little tired to me after using it for the last few years.
If you’re interested in this template, it’s called Verbosa, by a company called Cryout Creations. I’m using their free version, and they have a pay version with a few more features, plus support. Here’s a link to the site and the template so you can check it out and demo the software: Cryout Creations’ Verbosa Template
WordPress really did make website design so much easier for folks. Along with Drupal and several other content managers, it gave us the ability to build somewhat complicated sites with relative ease. You don’t need to be a web designer with extreme HTML and CSS skills to be able to use a WordPress template (although it’s not completely without a learning curve, it’s just a far gentler one than website coding). If you use it and are looking for a change, you could do worse than google “best free wordpress templates” and go through some of the sites that rate them for us.
If you’re NOT using WordPress, but you own your own domain and a hosted website that you have to maintain, and you aren’t into coding and design, check it out. Most hosting services include WordPress support with their packages. And if you’re looking for a free website, WordPress.com is a great place to start with WordPress and create your own blog, although you’re more limited in what features of WordPress you can access with their free service than you would be on your own hosted domain.
Last but not least, I got to my first Maryland Writers Association Frederick Chapter meeting last night. There were about twenty of us jammed into a small room, and I think everyone was pretty excited to see the MWA moving to get a chapter established. I know a few other writers who couldn’t attend but would if it were on weekends, and the next meeting should be. We chatted a bit about the MWA, the structure of a local chapter, and then Eileen Haavik McIntire, the current president of the MWA, spoke to us about doing historical research for her books, Shadow of the Rock and Rembrandt’s Shadow. We finished with a writing prompt, which is always an exercise I enjoy, and got to listen to some pretty good readings that came out of that (including my own I like to think).
Hope more of you central-west Maryland writers attend! One of the local Meetup groups which had been doing writing prompts regularly seems to be joining in. There’s at least one other big group out in the area, but they seem to focus exclusively on critiques, although I suspect some of those writers might get involved as well over time. The MWA is working hard not to step on anyone’s toes, but I don’t see that there’s any real conflict there. The MWA is really there to help support writers through all phases of their works and provide advocacy and assistance.