Good news!

As anyone who’s friended me on Facebook or shared my grocery line in the past week knows, I’ve got good news: I’m getting published! See the note below (the original is away at the framers):

Dear Angeline Schellenberg,

Hope this finds you enjoying early spring.

As poetry editor of the upcoming issue 30 of Rhubarb devoted to Manitoba Mennonite writing, I’m happy to let you know that I’ve chosen 4 of the impressive poems you sent us to run in the issue. I’m hoping that there won’t be any problems with space related to my choices, but that’s in the hands of the design people.

Maurice Mierau

I almost called my sister-in-law/poet in arms to tell her, but it was 10:30 pm when I read the email, so I let her sleep. But I found out the next day that she’s to be published in the same issue! Just a few weeks ago, we made a deal that if either of us had a poem accepted this year, we’d take each other out for supper. Since then, she’s been accepted by two literary journals, and I by one. Bring on the calamari!

I submitted 9 poems (a bigger package than most editors would prefer), and the 4 Mierau chose were about trees, my Oma’s death, a childhood memory of my dad, and a favourite story my grandma told about her sisters in Russia.

I’m very excited to be in Rhubarb, a locally published literary journal of Mennonite writing, but I’m particularly excited about being published there now. I’m in the process of applying for a Manitoba Arts Council grant for a collection of poems about autism, and despite more than a hundred news articles, features, reviews, and award-winning columns, in terms of qualifying to apply as a published “literary” writer, I was right on the line. I heard from the granting official this week that my one (bad) published poem and a chapter in an anthology squeaked me in. With 4 more (good!) poems in a recognized literary journal, I’m set. To apply that is. Convincing the granting committee to award me the cash is another story. I have a meeting lined up with the granting officer to go over my project proposal in the few weeks to make sure it’s the best it can be. And then we wait.

A few weeks ago, I set the goal of either one publication or 10 rejections by Christmas. I didn’t expect to get accepted this early! But I’m not giving up on my 10 rejections. I don’t want to lose momentum. I have one set of poems already sitting on an editor’s desk, and another 4 packages almost ready to go to other magazines across Canada. Maybe I’ll have a second acceptance before the end of the year – who knows! – but I can make darn well sure that another 9 journals have the chance to decide.

But first, to celebrate! My daughter thinks mom’s now so famous that we need to buy a family limo, so I could take her out on the town to prolong the illusion of fame and fortune. But I’d prefer something simpler, some tradition we can return to as a family every time one of my poems earns a paycheque (what can 4 people do for $10 to $50?). One writer I know orders sushi. I’m the only Schellenberg who eats seaweed, so that’s out.

I guess Rhubarb pie would be appropriate, but then what will we eat the day I’m in Prairie Fire? 🙂

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