I have file folders around my office with titles like “To Contemplate” and “Notes to Go Through.” The details on the strips of paper inside, torn from newspapers and napkins and notebooks, all have the same purpose: to weave themselves into an essay or article someday.
This week I’ll be finishing an essay, due Saturday, for the upcoming anthology “Three Minus One” from She Writes Press. The anthology will include tales about child loss (through stillbirth, infant death, and/or miscarriage) and focus on “loss, grief, and despair” as well as “surviving, healing, and learning to love again as well—all the while never forgetting.”
When I saw the call for submissions, I started scanning the journal I kept from Feb. 24, 2001 to Oct. 19, 2005 (which documents four in vitro procedures and three miscarriages), and pulled out a short piece I’d written from a scrap of paper in one of my file folders. The scrap of paper held my happy ending, a moment in time when my 7-year-old daughter and I were walking in a church parking lot on the way to a friend’s first communion. A traffic detour meant we’d arrived with only four minutes to spare, but something about the warm sun and her hand in mine made me slow my step, squeeze her palm, and ask, “How did I get so lucky that God gave you to me?”
She didn’t miss a beat.
“Jessica was lucky to find you.”
Jessica is her birthmother. I swallowed hard and fought back tears. Annalie turned her head toward me and smiled.
I want my submission to emphasize the deep sense of peace my daughter reinforced in that moment, knowing that underneath her six-word reply was an acceptance and appreciation for her highly orchestrated place in this world.
As writers, we can’t always know when a small exchange might lead to something bigger, but I think we know when a nugget of truth may one day be worthy of a place in a larger truth – in print.
Do you jot down moments from everyday life? How do you turn them into submissions?