My Road Goes Ever On
Over the years, I have followed what is Literarily Possible, crafting my best work while attempting to put it before readers’ eyes. Then I get on with life.
Though “doing the impossible” is often romanticized as part of the “Hero’s Journey” the recognition that we all have limits and some things, even noble endeavors, simply can’t be accomplished as we wish is part of the human journey.
To write words on paper or the blank slate of a Word doc is not that difficult. Good ideas can be had by dozens. There are certainly plenty of old ideas and “real-life” stories that could be worked into fresh material. I’ve read and edited plenty of “good ideas.” I’ve even written a few. But crafting a good idea into a worthy novel is another task altogether. There is a lot more that goes into “writing” than writing.
As a college student, I realized that though I had experienced a great deal, I had not sifted through those experiences well enough to put them into any sort of order. I didn’t have the distance to understand what they meant, and I most certainly didn’t have the larger world context to put them into proper perspective. I put off both writing and publishing for several years. Good thing, too.
Later in life and once the ingredients of a good story had come together, my ideas still needed a great deal of work. Rewriting is part of writing. So is professional editing, proofreading, and formatting. Taking words apart and refitting them together so that they flow sensibly and beautifully produces more than a body of written words. Literature is an art form. Words not only speak but they can also sing. On the page and in the mind and heart.
So though I cannot honestly say that I—even yet—craft great literature, at least I can state that I do enjoy the crafting process, playing in the mud of wordy sentences, squeezing meaning from alphabetical nonsense, and dancing with poetical sounds. All doable. When time permits and thinking space allows, words flow and stories grow.
Putting my work before readers is another challenge altogether. My latest endeavors included writing to every Christian and every Illinois newspaper, magazine, and online resource I could find—pages of them—and sending an introductory letter with contact information. The outcome of that exercise has yet to be seen. It may be little more than silence. Sobeit. Limitations are real.
Since December 2023, I have continued to write for literary journals and notable magazines. In this, I have found some version of success. Though it has been a challenge, I have enjoyed creating work for journals and magazines with their readership specifically in mind. Good thing that my inner literary acrobats like to run across unknown landscapes toward unexpected adventures.
Here’s my list of submissions up to date. My Literarily Possible is not dependent on acceptance but on living creatively.
American Short Fiction—Short Story—She Would Fly
Bellevue Literary Review—Essay Reflection—Life Is Not as It Ought to Be
Next Generation Short Story Contest—Short Story—Living Art
Arcturus—Short Story—Learn Anything Useful
Flare Journal—Essay Reflection—AI and Creative Nature
Narrative—Short Story—The Veil
The New Yorker—Short Story—Thought Reader
London Review of Books—Short Story—On Our Present Course
Rethinking Schools—Essay Reflection—A Humanitarian Inspiration
Guideposts—Essay Reflection—We’ve No Less Days
Harpers—Short Story—Witty and Sly
Along with the usual life issues, keeping the refrigerator stocked with enough food to keep the bodies and souls of my family together, I have also been assisting two GED students to reach their educational goals. Both have passed all their tests—except for math. I am working with them as needed to accomplish their worthy goals. My second student, Matt, had been forging ahead despite incredible odds. He has suffered from Cerebral Palsy since he was born and is wheelchair-bound. Yet he does not give up. No matter the setback, he finds a way to move on. An amazing guy who makes the ordinary trials of my day pale into insignificance. He is undoubtedly one of the reasons why I don’t get as dispirited as I used to about roadblocks and unmet expectations. As Matt has shown me in Living Color, life is meant to be crafted as carefully as any great story. Make it sing—even if you’re occasionally off-key.
I’ve also accepted two new editing assignments that have kept me busy. One value of editing is remembering that the little things matter. Each author has his or her unique voice, which should be respected, but words have a way of getting tangled from the head to the page. Seeing the sheer variety of ways we can lose our meaning is a great incentive to try harder to keep a straight, true line while writing.
My cemetery work has been fairly quiet of late, though I have a state report to fill out, which I dread. Never comfortable with official forms, I usually sidle up to them like a hunted animal, fearful of hidden snares. Being a volunteer with nothing to hide, I should brazen my way through the form with the confidence born of honest dedication. But that’s not my way. I tread across the landscape of official reports with all due caution. Probably just as well.
March will bring Illinois Primaries, so election judges will once again gather for official training, this time in February. Always amazed at the dedicated souls who show up, listen, learn, and carry out their service, I find I can’t begrudge my time. I am a citizen, and I want our democratic process to succeed. Though we have an imperfect realization of noble ideals, still, it’s still best to keep trying. Giving up doesn’t do much good.
It’s freezing cold today with snow still on the ground and ice expected tomorrow. I am supposed to take my two youngest for their last few Drivers Ed classes this week. Monday school may be canceled. Though I am eager to see the end of the Drivers Ed journey, I look back on teaching my eldest boys to drive in an old van that had electrical issues (the windshield wipers would go on and off at will) and the door had a habit of falling off unexpectedly, and I realize that we have come a long way. Once my two youngest pass their final tests and get their last hours in, this will make a total of eight competent drivers on the road, most often heading to classes or to work. Teaching a young person to drive is not easy—in my experience—but the fruit of diligence and speed praying is sweet. The job gets done.
Please remember me in your good thoughts and, if you pray, keep us in yours, as my readers are always in mine.
A. K. Frailey is the author of 18 books, a teacher for 35 years, and a homeschooling mother of 8.
Make the most of life’s journey.
For novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction inspirational books, check out
“The history is fascinating, the characters are uniquely intriguing, the plot is very rich, and the events are fascinating.” ~OnlineBookClub
“Highly imaginative and intelligently executed, Last of Her Kind is a spellbinding science fiction that is rich in imagery, rippling with conflict, and peppered with deeply moving scenes.” ~ The Book Commentary
“A well-crafted collection of contemporary short stories that offers insight into the human experience, with all its joys and sorrows.” ~Gina Mitchell
“I loved reading Ann’s wise, hope-giving thoughts about life and love. Truly, life is the art of overcoming obstacles and becoming stronger to live a fuller life. Beautiful work!” ~Ksenia