Finding A Special Place/Space For Our Published Writing

Thursday, April 08, 2021
My mother had an oversized black leather handbag she carried everywhere especially as she grew older. Although she had smaller ones in different colors that could coordinate with whatever she was wearing, this one was an appendage on her arm whether she was going to the supermarket, the doctor's office, a family gathering, or special event. 

It was most likely purchased from Sears, her favorite department store, and it was spacious enough to hold everything but the kitchen sink; from candy she always had on hand for a fidgety child at the doctor's office or her grandchildren at a family gathering, to important documents she never left home without, a pack of Kleenex, one or more ink pens, lipstick, a small mirrored compact, and a copy of the first magazine my writing was ever published in. 

I thought about my mother's handbag after I read a blog post by Renee Roberson that was recently posted on WOW. It was entitled, "That First Writing Job." Many posts on WOW resonate with me, and many cause me to reminisce, as this one did. 

I remembered how excited my mother was when I published my first article in a romance magazine. After reading it, she carefully rolled it and placed it in her handbag. Whenever we were out, she would take it out to show someone, sometimes perfect strangers. Although I was slightly embarrassed, when she passed it around like a basket of freshly baked buttermilk biscuits, it warmed my heart and also helped me believe more in myself as a writer and motivated me even more to reach my writing goals.

I don't remember when my mother took that magazine out of her handbag. After she died and my sister and I packed her belongings, that magazine, falling apart with yellowing pages, along with other magazines my work was in, and several other cherished items of hers were in another one of her special places, a cherry wood chest she had in her bedroom.

My mother always found a meaningful place for my published work, and even some of my old notebooks I had as a child that held remnants of my first attempts at writing. Reminiscing about that nudged me into digging into a plastic bin and a taped up box in my garage that sits next to my packed away Christmas ornaments, to find a more worthy space for the magazines and copies of anthologies my writing was in. 

As writers, we all know the importance of having a special place/space to write. But at times we forget the importance of also having a special place/space to house our published work. Sometimes we need a reminder that it was those first published pieces we could hold in our hand that gave us the confidence to submit our writing to other publications.  

Although I won't be putting a print magazine or an anthology with my writing in an oversize handbag to carry around like my mother did, I'm thinking of getting a hope chest and collaging it with writing quotes when I have the time and placing it near my desk to store them. Those bodies of work I still cherish and marvel at because it reaffirmed to me that dreams come to fruition if you keep at it and don't give up. I'm sure that was also what my mother thought, so I've vowed to no longer keep those first publications hidden away. They deserve to be in a prominent place/space in my life.    

If you haven't already I hope you too find a special place/space for your print publications, anthologies, or books. Glancing over at a book with your name on it, rereading an article or story or play you've written from years ago, can only add more to your life as a writer; more pride, more passion, more reflection about your growth, and more appreciation of this gift you have and all the great things that await you because of it.

                                                                     --Jeanine DeHoney

Jeanine DeHoney has had her writing published in several magazines, anthologies and online. 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Jeanine--I have a stack of Chicken Soup anthologies on my desk--a reminder of my hard work and of each "yes" that I received, when I get too bogged down by all the rejection.

I would make time to make that hope chest. It might spur you on. It might give you the courage when you doubt yourself.

I have a metal sculpture--a pig with wings. I used to think that certain things would only happen when pigs fly. I am about to hoist it up on some strong fishing line and hang it from the ceiling of our den/spare bedroom.

Make that chest, Jeanine. :)

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Great to hear that Sioux, that you have a reminder of all of your hard work on your desk. I hope you've also made space for your new book, "Greenwood Gone: Henry's Story." And yes, I will make time to do that hope chest and hanging your metal sculpture from your ceiling sounds like a great idea.

Anne Marie Scala said...

I love the way you write. A hope chest collaged with writing quotes sounds like a beautiful space to keep your work. I'm going to follow your lead and find a special place to store my writing, too.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you so much Anne Marie. I'm sure you'll find the perfect place for your writing also.

Joanne said...

Jeanine, I love this story of your mom carrying around your first published article. And your idea to create a special place for published writing. Mine are scattered: some pieces on a bookshelf, others in a binder with those plastic see-through sleeves. I should consolidate...maybe when I move, which I hope to do soon if I can find a better and affordable place.

Theresa Boedeker said...

What a great idea. Currently my work is in a pain cardboard box. But now I am thinking about moving it to a different place. Certainly it deservessomething better! Love the story of your mom.

Margo Dill said...

I do have a bookshelf where I am collecting magazines, books, and anthologies. And then I have a tub of News-Gazeztte newspapers that had some of my articles after working for them for 6 years. :)

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Joanne. Fingers crossed you find a beautiful, affordable haven soon.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Theresa. Yes, your published writing that you put so much love, and hard work in definitely is deserving of a special place.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Great to hear you have a bookshelf for your published writing Margo. I hope you make lots of room for all of your future books to come from your publishing company.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I, too, love that image of your mother pulling out the magazine to show off her daughter's talent! What a blessed daughter you were (and still are), Jeanine.

I have a bookcase in my office where I keep all my books, authored or with a byline. And I keep my clips in a special place, too. Not that anyone ever asks to see my clips but I know they're there and that's enough to make me smile most days.

Renee Roberson said...

I'm so glad a post I wrote inspired you, Jeanine! That warms my heart. I love the story about your mother's handbag, with its perfect description of the contents and how proudly she carried your article around with her to show off. Thinking about it, all my stuff is kind of scattered around in different places. On my bookshelves, in file folders, bins, a leather portfolio, etc. I like your idea of filling up a hope chest with all your writing and notes. I'd love to do something like that so my kids can dig through it one day.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Renee. Yes, a hope chest with your writing would be a wonderful heirloom for your children.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Ah...thank you so much Cathy. I'm glad you have a special place for your writing and your clips.

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