I found out this morning, just 4 hours after my dad passed away, that my epistolary Vietnam War story “Caring For Dragons and Growing A Flower” was accepted at Podcastle. A few days ago, I read the story at my dad’s bedside. Even though he was comatose, I like to think that he heard it and enjoyed it. He was my first audience. Now Podcastle will help me lift up the story to an even bigger audience, complete with Vietnamese-speaking narrators for three characters. I will forever remember this day, my first SFWA sale, as one full of bittersweet tears.
This week had been the longest and hardest week of my life. On 01/05, only 4 days of being out of state to start school, I got a call from my mom about my dad sustaining a hemorrhagic stroke while riding his bike. I flew back home the next morning and had been in the neuro ICU to see Dad and handle the flow of visitors every day since.
This story is about a wife losing her husband and a young daughter losing her father, so it’s intensely, painfully personal and honestly, I would have been so crushed to have gotten a rejection instead of an acceptance this morning. I wrote this story 4 months ago, so it wasn’t like I had written the story inspired by what happened to Dad. Stars just happened to align, amazingly enough. The themes of fiction come to life, the timing of the acceptance…it astounds me. I’m so grateful to Podcastle for giving this story a chance, a home, and a voice.