Countdown to Muse 2021: Small Victories by Dariel Suarez
The Muse and the Marketplace 2021 is almost here! This year's conference is taking the form of a virtual enhanced writing residency (taking place Wednesday, April 21st - Sunday, April 25th) with new Premium Workshops and the Manuscript Mart (taking place Wednesday, April 28th - Sunday, May 2nd).
This year's conference theme is "Small Victories." We all know what the "big" victories are (landing an agent, snagging a book deal, or getting a flashy award), but this year we aim to celebrate the equally important, tiny, and often unseen victories of our writing lives. In anticipation of the conference, we've asked Muse 2021 presenting authors to describe one small victory they've had as a writer that nobody knows about. Our next presenter in the series is Dariel Suarez, author of The Playwright's House.
After a few years of writing short fiction, submitting it for publication, and piling up rejections, I received an acceptance for a speculative fiction story at an online journal.
The experience was an exciting one — the feeling that maybe your work has stopped completely sucking and someone who knows what they’re doing actually wants to share it. The editor was pleasant and professional, offered a few edits, and within weeks the story was posted.
Then, it hit me: people are going to be reading this, judging it, maybe even commenting on it.
I spent days worried that I would suddenly wake up to an email ridiculing my awful writing, or that I would look back at the story in a few months and deem it terrible, unable to bear the thought of others seeing it.
None of these things happened, of course.
What did happen is that some weeks later, without warning, the editor wrote to say that my piece had been the most viewed and shared on their website, and the magazine was giving me their $50 Editors Award, based on anonymous monthly voting from readers. To this day, it is the sweetest money I ever made from my writing, because it gave me the confidence, at a time when I really needed it, to keep submitting my work.
Dariel Suarez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1997, during the island’s economic crisis known as The Special Period. He is the author of the novel The Playwright’s House (forthcoming, Red Hen Press) and the story collection A Kind of Solitude (Willow Springs Books), winner of the 2017 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction and the 2019 International Latino Book Award for Best Collection of Short Stories. He has also published a poetry chapbook, titled In The Land of Tropical Martyrs (Backbone Press). Dariel is an inaugural City of Boston Artist Fellow and the Education Director at GrubStreet. His prose has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including The Threepenny Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Massachusetts Review, Third Coast, Southern Humanities Review, North American Review, and The Caribbean Writer, where his work was awarded the First Lady Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize. Dariel earned his M.F.A. in Fiction at Boston University and now resides in the Boston area with his wife and daughter.
You can catch Dariel's virtual craft discussion with Dariel Suarez, "Polished to Published: Placing Your Fiction in Literary Magazines and Small Presses," via Attendify at the Muse 2021 from 10:00 am - 11:15 am (EDT) on April 24th, 2021. Don't wait! Register for the Muse and the Marketplace 2021 today.
Dariel Suarez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1997 at age fourteen. He is the author of the novel The Playwright’s House (Red Hen Press) and the story collection A Kind of Solitude (Willow Springs Books), winner of the International Latino Book Award for Best Collection of Short Stories. Dariel is an inaugural City of Boston Artist Fellow and the Education Director at GrubStreet. His work has received the First Lady Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize and will be anthologized in this year’s Best American Essays. His prose has also appeared in numerous publications, including The Threepenny Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Michigan Quarterly Review, Literary Hub, and The Caribbean Writer. Dariel earned his MFA in Fiction at Boston University and currently resides in the Boston area.See other articles by Dariel Suarez