Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Now Available: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love, and Good Times
Don't Give up on Your Rough Drafts

Over 10 years ago, I was taking a journal writing workshop through the community center in Mesa, AZ. We were asked to write a "Name Story"--what our names meant to us, what changes our names have been through, that kind of thing.

My first idea, the obvious--nobody knows how to pronounce Haapala (I actually wrote about this in "Finding Common Ground" for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles).

As I wrote out some ideas, I started humming a song. Of course. My name story had to be about the song that carried my name: Tina Marie '73. My dad had written and recorded it and sent a cassette tape to me in Arizona. I wrote a page for the next workshop. In that page, I talked a little about my parents divorce, a little about being a bratty teenager, a little about music. In the workshop, I played the song to tell the rest of my Name Story.

And then, for a few years, I put that page away.

It resurfaced when I moved to Texas. I decided to send it along with a Father's Day card when that day rolled around. Words, like music, can make a heart dance if set to the right beat. I was glad I finally shared.

A while later, when I started submitting my writing, I rewrote that story. I submitted it a few places and was turned down. I took another look at it when I saw that Chicken Soup for the Soul was looking for stories about Dads. I edited again, and sent it.

I had all but forgotten about it when I got the email about being a finalist. (Well, it was on my spreadsheet--you know the one you should have that lists all of the places you submit to--it just had taken longer than the others, so I assumed it wasn't being used.)

So, if you get a chance to read "Melody of the Heart", remember that it started as some scribbles years ago, and now it's published.

That "rough stuff" really can turn bright and shiny after a while!

Do you have a piece that you have given up on? How do you decide if it is worth another try? Or does the piece decide for you?


  1. You've inspired me to look through some of my old "rough stuff" and see how I can smooth it out. Congrats on the Chicken Soup publication!

  2. Thanks Laura! Sometimes it just takes some time and living for old drafts to become new again.


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