Congratulations to our featured client, Margaret Holmes! Writer’s Relief is proud to introduce author Margaret Holmes who, since enrolling, has garnered acceptances in many prestigious journals, including The Alembic and Limestone. We believe these magazines were wise to publish her work: Her prose has the rare capacity to engage readers in the opening sentences, and well-crafted dialogue keeps them captivated from beginning to end as characters develop and plots unravel. Read on to learn more about Margaret’s creative process and her experience with Writer’s Relief. (Click to watch her video)
In Her Own Words:
I have a secret life.
I’ve had a secret life ever since reading Charlotte’s Web when I was very young, through Jane Eyre, through the poetry of the Johns, Donne, and Berryman, through Emily Dickinson, and on to the short stories of Alice Munro, Antonya Nelson, Edward P. Jones, and Wells Tower, to name a few.
It took me a long time to dare even try what they were doing. But eventually I went to an MFA program and started writing. The process was slow and painful. After I finished the MFA, I wrote—and sent out—only piecemeal, not feeling as though I was getting much done. Finally, on my own, I published three stories. I thought I had it made. But another lull followed. Then a friend told me that through Writer’s Relief, she’d published seventeen poems.
For the first Writer’s Relief cycle I participated in, I hauled out a story I’d written at the outset of the MFA program, three decades before. People in the program had liked the story, and it had won a school prize. Over the years I’d sent it out twenty-seven times. Twenty-seven times it’d been rejected. I’d gotten a number of notes from editors, and comments from people I was periodically in writing groups with, all to the same effect: “This just needs a little something more at the end.” I wasn’t sure that it did, and I’d never been able to get enough into the mood and voice of the story to fix it. But before sending it in to Writer’s Relief for that first cycle, I had one more go at it. I put a little more into the ending. The story was accepted for publication right away.
When you tell people you write, the inevitable question is, “Have you published?” It’s good to be able to say, “Yes, eleven stories.”
Writing is no less difficult now, but it is more fun. And Writer’s Relief has taken care of getting published. Because Writer’s Relief has managed to get my work in print, I feel as though I’ve knocked on the door of that secret society, the society of writers. Because Writer’s Relief has managed to get my work in print, I’ve made a contribution to the secret life. You can read about it in my stories.
About Margaret Holmes:
Margaret Holmes graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in English and from the University of California, Irvine with an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with her family.
Her short stories have appeared in The Alembic, Amarillo Bay, Confrontation, Limestone, New Orleans Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Quiddity, roger, The Talon, Zone 3, and in the anthology Hacks, celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the Boston writers organization Grub Street. Grub Street also nominated her work for inclusion in Best New American Voices. An audio version of her work is available on Quiddity’s website. She has been the recipient of scholarships to the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
This is truly inspiring although I don’t have the Harvard degree and feel a bit under-educated. I still believe that it is the writing that counts though, so we’ll see.
Margaret here. It IS the writing that counts! and I’m glad you were inspired. I had a tough start and am so grateful to Writer’s Relief.