I had this piece about my mom. What I call a small wonder, because I don’t see it as long and developed enough to be an essay, to do the particular work of an essay. Some call it micro, flash, short. Pieces like this seem bigger than they are. So I had one like that. It was about my mom and the thirty minutes or maybe an hour during which we all, mother and daughters, moved from porch through kitchen to a phone call, moved from a long-held reality to a short-lived crisis to a third, permanent state. Many writers pay close attention to where we want to submit our pieces. With this one, this small piece about my mom, I looked for a journal that spoke to my mom and her life in some way, one cared for by attentive editors, as my mom was a caller, a communicator, a prolific letter writer. And there it was, Sobotka Literary Magazine, open for submissions.
“Sobotka roughly translates from Polish as ‘bonfire,'” write its editors, Nick and Kathy. (Kathy, like my mom, carries a Polish surname. My mom’s Polish heritage buoyed her sense of self.) “Bonfire literally means ‘bone fire’ or ‘a fire of bones’ in the English language, but has become synonymous with people conversing and connecting in a warm light of their own creation, safe from the darkness that surrounds them.”
Sobotka accepted my piece and in return gave me a little peace of mind about those thirty or forty or sixty minutes five years ago. They kept in touch throughout the editorial process. They sent me a copy with a handwritten note tucked inside. My mom would have loved them. Then she would have told me to write a note back, maybe add a seed pack or coupons or do they need baby bibs? My mom was so thoughtful like that.
One thing I miss most is gathering in my mom’s living room for Christmas in January, wrapping paper and grandkids in PJs and limitless finger food and a ten-foot lit tree, the darkness of our small town all around.