Encouraged by the honorable mention a short story earned in a contest, I tightened the writing and sent it off to a magazine.
The plot featured a fifty-something professional woman dealing with the declining health of her elderly father. On a trip to see him, she experienced an epiphany through an encounter with a stranger beside the motel pool.
As the words fell onto the page, I pictured a Candace Bergen look-alike: trim, attractive, capable and strong.
In a few weeks, the US Mail brought a contract from a national magazine for seniors. What a head rush! The envelope also included a check – payment on acceptance!
After more waiting, I finally received my complimentary copy.
Whoa! The illustrator had drawn my middle-aged business woman about thirty pounds overweight, sitting by the motel pool in a housecoat that must have come from Second Hand Rose. I had described her hair as shoulder-length, caught in a clip. The artist had fashioned it into a short bob from another generation. What happened to the person I wrote about? Did the artist even read my story?
How ludicrous! Could I show this to my family and friends? Would I want to include it in a clip book?
Darned right! A national magazine paid me an impressive sum and published my story. I had already cashed the check and added the credit to my resume. So what if the magazine’s staff artist re-visioned my scenario.
I had become a published writer!