Two things relevant to my writing aspirations just came in the mail: My author copies of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (containing my latest short story), and a membership renewal notice from Mystery Writers of America. Both were kind of bittersweet.
Don’t misunderstand: I love seeing my stuff in print. I love it more than the tiny checks I get from the aptly-named Penny Publications when I sell one of my stories, and I love it a lot more than actually writing. Maybe that’s the problem. For me, writing is hard. Even if I’m writing crap. It’s so hard that when I’ve actually sold something, I feel like I deserve a major award. Instead, I get the pleasure of rereading my so-so prose in print and confronting life’s persistent question: But what have you done lately?
Which brings me to the MWA renewal notice. It’s $95 a year. Subtract that from the paltry pay, add Uncle Sam’s insistence that I pay a self-employment tax, and watching junk TV suddenly seems like a lot better use of one’s time. To hell with this novel; the MTV awards are on! That Britney’s putting on some weight!
I don’t know. I’ll probably renew, for the same reason I joined in the first place: I like telling people I’m a member of something, and Mystery Writers of America sounds better than the Elks Club. Also, I get my name in the monthly newsletter on those rare months when I have something new in print. Finally, there are no meetings. If they’d only give me a cool jacket with a logo on the back, or some MWA coasters, it would be a no-brainer.
Anyway, if you get the chance, check out my story “Strange Days” and tell me what you think. It may not be literature, but it’s short.