Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG: From Highlights to . . . ?


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This month's IWSG questions - What was your first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published? - made me realize just how long I've been at this writing thing.

I keep copies of most of my publications, especially the ones seen exclusively online. I have three binders full of work. The very first page in the very first binder? A poem I wrote when I was nine years old, published in Highlights for Children Magazine (May, 1983.) The binders are not only a record of my work, but also a reminder of what I've accomplished, of all my successes. Guess how often I look at any of those binders? Go ahead, write your answer in the layer of dust covering them. 

Instead, I recall the missed opportunities - the ones I wasn't ready for, the ones I didn't take advantage of due to fear. I wonder now - over 30 years later - if there will ever be any more of those moments for me and my writing? Or did I just totally miss the boat on the writing career of my dreams?



62 comments:

Murees Dupè said...

I know there are still many opportunities out there for you. Fear definitely gets to us all. But you have concurred them on more than one occasion and you can do so again. Never stop trying to live your dream. Cheering for you!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks so much, Murees! I appreciate those cheers. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I love that you keep everything in binders.

You didn't miss the boat, Madeline. You're still on it! :D

emaginette said...

If you ever figure out how to get through life without regrets you must share. Looking back isn't always good for us. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Jemi Fraser said...

It's never too late! At least, I hope not! :)
Fear is my worst enemy as well, but I'm nibbling away at it!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Love that about still being on the boat, Chrys. Thanks!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I remember reading once about glancing back is fine, but staring too long is dangerous.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Fear can be our friend - pushing us to keep going, keep trying - or it can be our foe - stopping us in our tracks, making us curl up in a ball under the bed. It's kind of like a "frenemy."

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Published in Highlights - wow! You better start opening that binder and remember the good stuff. It's never too late.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Madeline, I like the fact that you keep everything in binders, you are so organized. You are still on the writing boat :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

My husband says the same thing about looking that stuff over more often, that I need to remind myself of those accomplishments.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too organized for my own good. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That is super cool that you were published in Highlights. I always bought that magazine for my children. And your poem is cute.

Hart Johnson said...

That's awesome that you were actually published so young. I remember getting Highlights. And you will have LOTS of opportunities, but never forget, MANY of the opportunities you need to make yourself. Most even.

Maria Zannini said...

Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to point out all the things that are right in front of us.

Your first sentence: "I keep copies of most of my publications,"... and I thought, wow. That's real accomplishment, and you're still paddling in the right direction.

Tonja Drecker said...

Wow! That's so great that you have everything filed away like that. How wonderful that you already had your first poem published at 9. I'm sure that was a moment to remember.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you! I do think my creative well has run dry in regards to poetry though. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Wouldn't it be funny if you - or any of our fellow bloggers - had read my poem way back then, back before we all "knew" each other?

Excellent point about making my own opportunities, Hart!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Maria. I do think you're right about having an outside source point all those good things out to us now and then. I have my husband and you all for that. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

It seems like a million years ago now. :)

Thanks for "following" us here at TSR!

Crystal Collier said...

I love that you have the binders! I have a file, but I'm missing a couple of my works, and some of my stories are in ebook only, so I can't have print copies. At least, not the published version. I should totally follow your example, and you should totally celebrate the binders rather than agonizing over the rest.

Unknown said...

I have a backpack in my hall closet FULL of old manuscripts and parts of manuscripts. I really should just burn it but I can't. Maybe someday I'll take it out and look at it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm missing a few things here and there, too. Some of my work is included in anthologies that are physical books and those are on a shelf.

Like the idea of celebrating rather than agonizing. :)

Pat Garcia said...

You have accomplished so much and you have given me an idea with the binders. Anything that gets published will go into a binder.
Thank you so much for sharing that.
Shalom aleichem,
Patricia

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I got rid of some of my old manuscripts, ones where the story and/or characters no longer spoke to me. I did keep a handful that I know I want to revisit one of these days.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

You are very welcome! Just make sure you go back and look at those binders - don't be like me. :)

Liza said...

You have absolutely NOT missed that boat! Keep on going, you have many years of productive writing ahead of you!

Julie Flanders said...

Wow, how wonderful that your poem was in Highlights!! I loved reading it. So cute. And I can relate to how easy it is to focus on the missed opportunities, etc, I'm guilty as charged, but I've no doubt you haven't missed any boat!

Loni Townsend said...

Wow! I am thoroughly impressed by your work. That's pretty awesome that you've been published since the age of nine. And I love your poem, btw.

The Cynical Sailor said...

I remember Highlights magazine! How cool that you were published in it :-)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I hope so!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Julie. Maybe it's a pretty big boat - a wonderful cruise ship! - and we're all on it, none of us have missed it. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks so much, Loni!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Is it still around? It was such a fun magazine.

Jenni said...

I love your binder idea--and how true that we tend to focus on when we messed up or got rejected instead of the yeses. My first acceptance (not my first piece of writing) was for Highlights. They are an awesome magazine!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Giving you a virtual "High"-lights Five! :)

Anonymous said...

That's cool you kept everything and have the binders still. I've been tempted from time to time to delete my first writings, but have yet to do it.

Kristin Smith said...

Oh my gosh, that is the cutest poem ever! I love it! And how cool that you were published in Highlights at the age of 9.

And no, I don't think you've missed the boat. It's never too late to follow your dream. ;)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

So you were talented since childhood!! How awesome. I predict you'll be looking back over a great career. Those rejections are just how you get the thicker skin and humility the job requires.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

You didn't miss the boat--unless you quit writing altogether.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I also have a few pieces of early unpublished writing, like from school, that have been unearthed from old boxes.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm pretty sure that was my poetry peak. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

My skin is both thick AND thin. I tend to be more sensitive for my own good a lot of the time.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Excellent point! :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I think the first things I ever wrote were poetry, and really bad poetry too. They shall remain hidden away until I get the urge to shred them all. Or perhaps publish as an example of how not to become a poet. :D

Juneta key said...

That is so cool about the binders. A visual you can see too and hold in your hand. I like that. There will always be opportunities as long as we are looking, recognize them and are ready to act on them, They may not be the sane opportunities, but yeah I think you can still have the career of your dreams. Both of us. Wishing You Much Success!
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I've pretty much given up the writing of poetry, but I love the idea of reading it. I keep meaning to do more of it, but for some reason, I just don't.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

It's especially important to me when so much of my work is published online. I like being able to hold the results in my hand.

Wishing you success as well! :)

Michelle Wallace said...

I love that poem! It's really cute.

I don't think you've missed the boat. You have two books plus loads of online publications.
You're actually aboard a stately, luxury liner...on a writer's cruise to wherever you want to go to!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Michelle!

Ah, maybe I'll stretch out on a deck chair, have a pina colada, and read, read, read and write, write, write. :)

Nicki Elson said...

Aw! That poem is so great. How cool that it made it into a Highlights. Three binders is quite impressive, milady.

Debbie Johansson said...

I've also got one of those binders! I've kept what I've had published in newspapers and magazines - it might not be much right now, but it proves that I can do this. I know you can too!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

The binder starting at 2016 is still pretty empty though. But I'm working on it! :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yeh for binders and records of our achievements! We can totally do this!

Cynthia said...

What a great poem! I love that it found a home in a Highlights magazine.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thanks, Cynthia!

Christine Rains said...

Fantastic poem! I know how you feel. I started writing young too, but fear held me back for several years. Have a lovely week!

Anonymous said...

Great poem! (And I love the fact that you still have it!) You didn't miss the boat if you're still doing it. And clearly you are :)

I still have the first "book" I wrote - I read it the other day and had a chuckle. Then the story came back to me and what I'd envisioned and was like, oh yeah, I've been doing this for a long time. Thank God I've improved some!!

Good luck with your writing!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

When I was younger, I was definitely more fearless. Now, I find fear often holds me back, and I have to fight through it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I believe I still have the original magazine issue, but if I do, it's packed away and not as accessible as the binders.

Good luck with your writing, too!

J.H. Moncrieff said...

You have NOT missed the boat, Madeline. You just need to get another ticket.

And you were in Highlights? Holy crap--that is a HUGE accomplishment.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Ack! What if I peaked at age 9?! :o