My short story was shot down by The New Yorker this morning. The e-mail arrived at 10:56. Four minutes later, my twenty-three year old son took his two boxes, two back packs, two jackets, two chargers and headed off to his new apartment seven hours away in New York City. Forty years and one month to the day that his father made the same move, a little over twenty-six years for me.
Yes, The New Yorker, was a long-shot. It was an interesting story and I decided to start big. Why not? Their web site said that they would let me know in three months and they did. I love The New Yorker, I have since I was a child. Some kids started to show their reading skills with cereal boxes. Not me, I did it with New Yorker cartoons. My parents were thrilled with my progress and I continued to get their attention by reading the magazine. I had to give The New Yorker a try. And I’m glad I did.
Moms send their children off throughout their lives: kindergarten, high school, college and finally to make it on their own. Sometimes the child kicks and screams, other times they run and don’t even look back. Sometimes they return triumphantly, other times sheepishly. But when they go out to chart their own course it’s different. The finality of it is a bit overwhelming.
I have to applaud a kid who thinks big. One who takes his few possessions and leaves behind the comfort of his home, the company of his friends, the keys to instant transportation and heads to the uncertainty of Gotham. Sometimes a mom wonders where a child gets his strange ideas, his bull-headedness, or his wacky sense of humor. But giving some thing difficult a go—it’s something, I guess, my son and I share.
Good luck Johnnie. Oh and thanks for the tips on where I should send my story next…