Story of a Story
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Once upon a time, there was a story. It started as a sparkle in the eye of its author, as they flirted, first covertly and then not, with their muse. It was not a great adventure epic nor a romantic tragedy, but it was, and it was happy with that. Stories and furniture have many differences, such as comfort and patterns, although we do share a few traits. While we furnishings enjoy nothing more than to be at the center of a room crowded with more of our kind, stories likewise want companionship and attention. Their greatest aspiration is to be published and reside simultaneously in thousands of places, such as libraries, magazine stands, the odd study, and mayhaps the coffee table to my left.

Most stories have nightmares about being ignored outright or relegated to some obscure quarterly, and this story was no different. He could remember back to when he was a young rough draft, aspiring to nothing but publication. Older and wiser, he had learned of movie rights and secondary publications. He kept these in mind, as they made the edits and revisions more bearable as he matured.

  
 
When he became a finished story, as finally honed and crafted as he was ever going to be, he moved into a large manila envelope with a cover letter and a submission form. The story and the letter became good friends, but neither could stand the form. The form frequently went out and returned with an addendum of such low class that both the story and letter would wonder aloud about the going rate for a type job. Both had been word-processed, but neither had experiences in such high quantity or low quality.

The cover letter frequently went out alone, sometimes returning with a classy rejection letter from an uptown firm. But it never worked out, of course, such trysts were doomed from the outset. The story sometimes accompanied the letter to some of the larger publishing firms, where it could mingle without drawing a higher profile. Although he desired to be published, the story wanted a low profile because on one of its first social outings, he had drawn the attention of a pseudophilosiphical interpretive essay. It was purely coincidental that the story found itself entertaining the unattractive roommate of the letter's date to a coffee shop poetry reading.

That roommate turned out to be a business card for a small but prestigious firm that published fantasy stories. The story wasn't really fantasy, lacking any sort of magical elements or appendages. The card took the storyís surrealism to be fantasy, and the potential for publication kept the story interested in the relationship for a while.

Eventually the differences between surrealism and fantasy proved too much to overcome, and they separated. They stayed friends at the cardís insistence, and the card was soon trying to hook him up with some of the other cards from her office. He kept drawing their attention because he wasn't heavy or ponderous like most of the literature they saw day in and day out around their office. He was light-hearted and almost eager to give his surrealistic take on a situation. Unfortunately, they all saw his mirthful outlook to be too childish for their own publications, and any queries he made about his chances were met with references to children's publications.

It was a surprise to him when he found himself at a card party chatting with a rather haughty story who'd just been rejected by a firm for being too melodramatic. The story made inquiries and found out that the firm published compilations of stories that were difficult to categorize. The story snuck out of the party as soon as he could and went home to discuss the matter with the letter.

The letter had never heard of the firm, and, ignoring the form's snide comments about getting ideas above their station, the two set off to find the firm. The letter did most of the work of convincing the firm that the story was worth having. Most of the discussions centered on whether or not the story was really a children's story from which a cute fuzzy animal had been extracted. After the firm was assured that the story had never been associated with anything cute or fuzzy, they agreed to publication, and the story was elated. There's a copy over there on the bookcase, if you're interested. Third shelf, second book from the right. And could you get some different throw pillows? The old ones are beginning to chafe my armrests.

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