Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Uncommon Compliment

I have to admit, it's hard to gain confidence in writing in your second language. My second language is English, and I write primarily in it. I have been told quite a few times by foreign editors/publishers that some of my language use is a bit awkward, or they simply don't understand certain lines. I've pretty much gotten used to this. At first, I considered this a flaw in my writing. And then after some years reading work like those of Chinua Achebe, I realize it can't be helped. It is part of the evolution of language to have several versions of itself, which after some time, may not look anything like the original. Take Becky language, for instance. It is incorrigible to the unexposed.

And then here comes the unexpected compliment. I recently returned to the fiction scene, and managed to revise and restructure a novel I wrote some three years back. In the process of submitting the partial / full manuscript to publishers for consideration, I received some kind words from the founder of Freedom Forge Press LLC, Eric Egger. See, I submitted to this press because I was very much intrigued by their interest in exploring the concept of freedom (something much of my writing delves into). Eric requested my full manuscript and gave me the heads up about it needing a round of edits. I completely agree to this, as I've never been in love with my work too much to be so attached to the words I write. I told him this and also mentioned how I'm a second language speaker.

This is what he had to say in return:
"Please take it as a compliment that your command of English is better than many native “speakers” here in the US. :o) Some of your phrasing and word choices were both masterful and artful!"
You know what I thought? I thought, hey, maybe I'm doing something right. I just kept writing in my own way and style all these years, and maybe it's paying off, huh?

Little things like these make my day. Just to plug this in, I've also received an acceptance letter from Magma Poetry, a UK-based publisher.

 Dear Anne Carly Abad

Thank you for sending us five of your poems for consideration for Magma 58.  We have read them several times and would like to offer publication to 'Pub(l)ic Lies' if it is still available and if you would consider one small edit.

We enjoyed the word-plays throughout the poem greatly and wondered if you would like to build up to a three-way word play at the end...

Laurie Smith
Editor, Magma 58

In a separate post (once my poem is published), I'll talk about that teeny bit of change at the end that made a huge difference in strengthening the piece. Little tweaks do make a difference!

Thanks to these kind editors and publishers for taking the time and exerting effort in helping me become a better writer. :)
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