At my college, every year the professional writing and art students come together to produce a literary publication full of stories, essays, poems, and illustrations from the previous year. We call it Fountains.
As a high school student, I remember seeing Fountains advertised in the direct mail we received occasionally, and I determined right then that I would one day be published in PCC’s publication one way or another.
As a Freshman, I submitted a short fiction piece that was too long for consideration (ten pages, I think). But since I hadn’t had any writing classes yet and didn’t know what kind of process the writing went through, I didn’t mind too much; I would get in next year.
As a Sophomore I submitted my short fiction, “Keep Calm and Dinner On,” and hoped for the best. I wouldn’t hear back until the spring of that year, and even if I did make it in, I wouldn’t be published until the year after.
I waited. And waited.
And then Devon Counterman caught me at the beginning of journalism and told me I had been accepted.
It was a monumental day for me, since I had never been accepted by anyone before, even if this was just a small college publication. I was ecstatic, and thus I began the journey of learning about Fountains and the editing process.
Devon was a great editor. She met with me outside one day to talk to me about my piece, praised me for my strengths, and suggested tweaking the ending of the piece slightly to wrap it up better. After several backs and forths, and several waves of edits, I finally signed off on the manuscript and began the long wait for spring 2018.
Spring 2018 is here, people.
The extra funny thing is, Bryan Sign comes from my working novel (you can read an excerpt here) and has similar hobbies and interests as the Bryan Sign in this story. The character in my book, however, goes by the nickname “Stop Sign” because of his bright red hair. Nowhere in the short story does his nickname get used, but the illustrators still somehow came up with the idea of illustrating a stop sign on his bedroom door, even though no one in those classes know the significance.
Being in Fountains is a milestone for me and my writing career. Although just a small audience, it still taught me the system of publishing, working with editors, and yes, even rejection Freshman year. I loved being a part of the ride, and look forward to next year where I’ll be the editor helping another beginning author create their milestone!