My First Byline in ‘The Happy Times Monthly,’ (Happy Herald)
Someone once said that the only reason to look back is to see how far you’ve come. In terms of my writing and publishing career, I just realized it has been 20 years since my first article was published in a local South Florida paper known as ‘The Happy Times Monthly,’ now the Happy Herald.
Back then, the internet was not as advanced as it is today and believe it or not, I didn’t even own a personal computer. I actually typed the article on a typewriter and snail-mailed it to Founder/Publisher Brigitte Lang, after a good friend suggested I should start putting a writing portfolio together. Funny thing is, weeks went by and I never heard anything back from Brigitte. Then, one hot summer day in Boca Raton, another girlfriend called me to share the news that she’d just been in Whole Foods and had seen my headline article (along with the photo I’d submitted) in a stack of free papers. She was nearly out of breath, she was so excited. Having known about my brother Ralph, she was thrilled to see his story in print.
Not only had I finally been published, but my first article was chosen to be the headline. And, although it had not been my motive for writing it, the piece captured the attention of someone else – the man on whom Ken is based in Water Signs. When he saw it, he called the newspaper for my number to congratulate me. Since Brigitte maintains an excellent policy of keeping her contributor’s phone numbers private, she took his name and number and promised to share the information with me. Which she did.
I described the mixed emotions I felt back then in the novel, especially upon discovering Ken was now a father to a baby girl. On one hand, I appreciated the pride he expressed in me, knowing it had been a lifelong dream; on the other, I relived the pain of what had happened, mainly because of an inability to communicate. Ironic, I know.
Anyway, fast-forward about 11 years later, and this real-life event became a pivotal scene in Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal:
Beneath the headline ‘My Brother – My Hero,’ and the byline bearing the author’s name, Madeline and Louis smiled back at him, seated at a round dining table. Wow. She’d finally achieved her goal of becoming a published writer. He well remembered the endless conversations, by the ocean, snuggled up on the couch, or wrapped up under the satin sheets of his waterbed, during which Maddy would eloquently share her dreams for the future. In spite of everything, he still missed that connection.