Since today is my birthday, I thought I'd share something I came across a few years ago. I'm pretty sure that this is not only my first travel query letter, but also my very first effort at professional publication.
I imagine I sat at the little red plastic table in my bedroom, gripping a Bic liberated from the cup my mother kept near the kitchen phone. I'm pretty sure that this was my first draft, and that I copied it over again (without the spelling errors, hopefully!) before I popped it into an envelope with a SASE. Note the strategic compliment I inserted.
was hawking. It was fiction, although very much ripped-from-the-headlines, as I was just back from my first trip on an airplane to Florida, to visit my stepfather's mother in Hollywood and then the just-opened Epcot Center. (Surely I planned a separate piece on that!) I am not sure why I named my female protagonist "Ken", but I'm sure you can spot the influences of my writer- heroes, Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder:
Well, I don't have a record of a response from "Dear Sir or Madame", but since I know that I was not published in Highlights Magazine, in due course, I must have received my first rejection letter.
I don't remember that part at all. Which means that is true: the sting of rejection fades away. But the pride that any writer, of any age, should feel about writing a story, an essay, an article, polishing it and taking a shot at getting it published? Apparently, that endures.