Click on the video above to hear about Tricia’s publishing experience with Writer’s Relief!
Our featured client, Tricia Warren, has been published in The Furious Gazelle, Umbrella Factory Magazine, SNReview, and The Tower Journal. She also has a story forthcoming in Litbreak Magazine.
Read on and watch the video to find out how Writer’s Relief helped Tricia become a published writer!
In Tricia’s Own Words
In my video I should’ve credited my backdrop—the great outdoors, a place I never know well enough, no matter how much time I spend there, although at the risk of sounding comically myopic, the panorama inhibits my writing. It’s so magnificent, I wonder, when I’m not wondering about important things, like fungi, bacteria, mites, and earthworms nurturing the soil, why I write. If anyone asks, not that they do, in an attempt to be clever, I’m likely to cite some physics book that portrays reality as knowable only through innumerable subjectivities, a theory I don’t understand because I stopped reading the moment math problems appeared on the page.
As I am, like most folks, a vain, self-preserving soul, I find physics, not to mention nature’s vastness, rather daunting. Why finish a short story if multiverses exist? And yet, should the wave not drown you, it can heighten creativity, transporting one’s thoughts beyond the self.
When I began writing fiction, however, those lofty empirical and metaphysical themes didn’t necessarily manifest on the page. Trying to balance between equanimity and creativity, to order sentences into a form, I often wrote mere fragments. They were brimming with tangents and snippets, ideas that weren’t sprinkled into the work elegantly, gracefully, like Joyce drops opera, politics, and literature into “The Dead.” Either I was too pleased with getting a few paragraphs on the page, or flabbergasted when they lost momentum; it was like driving down a promising street until I’d turn a corner to see it blocked off with an orange sign that says “Road Closed.” Maneuvering various rules of form and structure around to suit a particular story, in other words, was more complicated than I expected.
Whenever momentum faltered, I’d return to reading. I adored Henry James’s sentences about a Paris morning, James Baldwin’s about jazz, Virginia Woolf’s descriptions of light and color in “Kew Gardens,” and Dawn Powell’s novel A Time to be Born for mocking mass culture. Yet when I tried to stretch language around my own thoughts, it wasn’t as supple. Or I’d think I knew what I wished to say until I began writing and it dissolved into something else.
Flash forward several years: I was attending a writing conference, and heard about Writer’s Relief. So far I had placed in a few contests, but that was all. In social situations, I rarely mentioned my pastime. “And have you been published?” was the inevitable question if I did. “Uh, no.”
Inevitably, people would advise on writing a best seller, or describe possible characters, e.g., the so-called jerks they knew in law school; and then there was the ER doctor who kept banging his knife on the table saying, “Writing is just a hobby.” I mean, duh! I know I’m not saving lives! Plus, I was so idealistic, I wasn’t thinking bestsellers; I just wanted to write good sentences.
Writing has taught me far more than I anticipated: to see beyond surfaces, to look for subtlety, and to be open to surprise.
And Writer’s Relief has been a lovely surprise. I have found the staff to be professional and yet soulful enough to deal with over-sensitives like me; they are incredible proofreaders, they’re personable, and they find literary magazines amenable to my writing style. While my writing problems haven’t vanished, I’ve learned to savor the back and forth between awe and form. Although I haven’t managed to submit every cycle, Writer’s Relief has tolerated me with good humor, and so far five of my stories have been accepted. Hopefully, I shall be working with them for years to come.
More About Tricia Warren
After living for too many years in Washington, DC, Tricia Warren moved back to Atlanta, where she tries to stay out of her car. She holds a BA from Vanderbilt University, a JD from Duke, and has attended writing conferences hosted by One Story, Tin House, and Bread Loaf in Sicily.