About four years ago, I wrote a personal essay about the experience of being bisexual and Catholic for a collection of stories by queer-identified Catholic women. The editor was in touch with me at the beginning of the process, but I didn't hear much about the project as she shopped for a publisher. In the meantime, knowing that publication of the piece was not guaranteed, I also submitted it to Unruly Catholic Women Writers II, which accepted it. Earlier this year, I learned that Unruly is slated for publication by SUNY Press.
And earlier this week, I learned that the queer-themed Catholic women anthology (still pending a title, I think) has been accepted by PenUltimate Press.
I immediately responded to the editor of the queer-themed anthology to let her know the piece had also been accepted elsewhere, and to offer to begin discussion about whether it could be offered for reprint so that it could appear in both places. I'm still waiting to hear back from Unruly's editor -- but what a good problem to have!
More than anything, the experience has demonstrated what we've all heard as writers a hundred times: the difference between the published and the unpublished writers is persistence. After four years of silence, I'd all but written off the first anthology. Luckily, the editor heading up the project hadn't -- and thanks to her, we'll have a much-needed addition to both Catholic and queer literature, with or without my essay included.