The next day I would hear from an editor who may have thought the same thing my son did. I received an email from a publication that I had sent the story to stating they were very interested in publishing my story in their paperback quarterly in July of this year and that they "loved" the story and that it was "wonderful"...The bad news? They suggested I write a different ending. I'll give no spoilers away in this blog, but let me say that the ending allowed for the reader to make up their own mind about it. I felt it was unpredictable and would linger in the reader's mind for a day or two as they pondered the ending. A suggestion was made to me to give more closure to the story so it directly answer any questions the reader may have.
I was both ecstatic (that they wanted my story) and a bit set back (that they would want such a traditional ending). I thought to myself, "If I change it, is it selling out? Can I do that?" The old punk rock ethics in me kicked in immediately. Could I really change the end of something I was so proud of? Isn't that compromising my art? Then the humble, grown husband and father of three started in who reminded me it was only a story. One that was"loved" and was "wonderful" and that the editor's suggestion wasn't changing the substance of my story in anyway nor did they make suggestions on what should happen but more of "tell us SOMETHING. Whatever you decide to do, tell us; the reader." Surely I could come up with something we were both happy with. It was like I had this devil-and-angel-on-my-shoulders scenario going on. I listened to both sides and came to the conclusion that I would write the editor expressing why I wrote the end the way I did, my feelings on the ending, and enclose an alternate ending that if they wanted to they could use it and it would be their choice.
I am filled with overwhelming gratitude and appreciation for this opportunity. This is what I've been wanting. To see my name in print with my words and to be able to call myself "published."
My foot is now in the door and I'll be darned if I'm going to let my old punk rock combat boots kick it in when someone on the other side is trying to open it.