So, I’m in a magazine. And that is completely amazing.
It’s what I’ve been working toward and what I’ve secretly wanted since I was a kid. Even better, it’s in a magazine that I respect (despite my non-religiosity). So I’m excited, and grateful, and proud of myself (but not to worry, still completely critical).
But I’m also filled with some conflicting emotions.
The piece, which I started writing very shortly after my friend Tiina died in January, is about how I dealt with the online reminders that appeared almost immediately after her death.
I started to write it to organize my thoughts and to expel some of the horrid feelings I had. When I did, I felt powerful. I felt in control of my feelings. I also realized I was on to something — if I was having this problem, surely others were too.
But I put it down for many months until I came across a call for pitches for Geez Magazine – a fantastic, ad-free quarterly out of Winnipeg. They were looking for articles about technology intersecting with people’s lives. It fit.
So long story short, I pitched a version of my article (with some additions including interviews), it got accepted, and I was off to work to write the most important thing in my career. My first.
But writing about the death of a friend isn’t easy. I was filled with conflicting feelings of pride and guilt.
It was no longer just about processing my thoughts. Suddenly, it became an artifact. I was manipulating words into the best possible pattern and inserting punctuation to emphasize emotion with the most impact — an important process as a writer, but weird as a person. I was worried I’d lose my friend’s memory on the page.
That’s not to say it wasn’t sincere. Every word, and every feeling was true. And when I stop worrying about the structure of the writing and sit and remember my friend, my heart breaks all over again.
It’s been 11 months since Tiina died. I feel calmer now – though I still can’t bring myself to visit Victoria –and I’m glad that my memory of this big occasion will also remind me of my friend. I can’t help but feel guilty about profiting (ever so slightly) with a story about so much sadness, but I’d like to think she’d be okay with it. I hope I’m right.