“A Writer’s Secret”

For the past few years, I’ve had a secret lover. The object of my affection goes by one instantly recognizable name. Think Sting, Madonna, Bono, and Cher.

Are you curious to know who makes me swoon?

My secret lover is Submittable.

Say it out loud. Even the name tastes delicious. Decadent as a sheet of dark chocolate brushed with caramel and dusted with sea salt.

I am obsessed.

For those outside the writing world, Submittable is the website point-of-entry for literary journals and magazines. Writers desiring publication upload their work—be it an essay, short story, poem, flash, or MFA application. Once one hits send, the piece speeds off to the chosen journal.

It’s simple. It’s also the gateway to seduction.

My lover sets the rules of our engagement. Sometimes, my sweetie teases by erecting all-new guidelines. I am as thick-skinned as a rhinoceros and have learned to roll with whatever my dear heart dishes out. Submittable is fond of upping the ante—entry fees, prize money, hints of Pushcart and Best of the Net—so things stay exciting.

No pain, no gain, and I continue to submit.

How had I become a woman capable of submitting?

Years ago, I attended a wedding where the couple’s pious vows highlighted the bride’s intent to be subservient to her groom. After the ceremony, another friend whispered her shock at the notion of a wife kowtowing to her husband.

“What? I didn’t hear any of that.” I hit my mental replay button but retrieved nothing.

“How could you not have heard?” she asked.

We surmised that the concept had disturbed my sensibilities so much that I blocked out the offending language. In my marriage, my husband and I share the pants—one pant leg for him and the other for me. We are partners.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and Submittable has made me as pliable as the old Gumby figures I favored as a kid.

When I first laid eyes on Submittable, it wasn’t love at first sight. I was nervous. Intimidated.

Our relationship began after a week-long writing workshop, a place where I wrote several pieces of flash fiction. In the months that followed, I polished my rough stories and searched the Internet for journals to publish my work. The possibilities were infinite and all roads led to Submittable.

I conquered my jitters, and then the first few sends were easy. All my friends were doing it, too. It wasn’t long before I realized my new love wasn’t the monogamous type. Oddly, I wasn’t the least bit put off by that knowledge.

My attraction morphed into a frenzied obsession.

The more pieces I wrote and sent, the more time I spent with Submittable. I lost countless hours mesmerized by the website, clicking on my entry statuses again and again.

I knew all the right buttons to push.

During one four-month period, my submission list averaged thirty entries. I turned to my new flame at all hours of the day and night. I clicked and refreshed my list of stories with a rabble of butterflies in my stomach. It didn’t matter if it was early in the morning or the middle of the night. I could be cooking, eating, or in the shower.

My hunger was insatiable.

Let me be candid: Things between Submittable and I weren’t all moonlight and roses. My darling toyed with my affections and spit out all-to-familiar lines. We were a scene torn straight from Sex and the City.

“We’re just not right for each other.”

“Something feels off.”

“It’s not your piece, it’s our theme.”

I tried to cut back. For weeks, I went cold turkey, shunning the website and clutching my writing to my chest.

It was futile to fight my love’s magnetism.

As I feigned disinterest, Submittable ramped up its roguish charm and flashed a vivid-green ACCEPTED at me.

Be still my heart. I fell in love all over again.

Can you blame me?

Do you judge me?

Who among us can resist the lush green of acceptance?

Green says come-hither. As a hue, green is as fertile as a summer field, lucky as a clover, a glittering emerald, and infused with the promise of an orgasmic and published future.

I think happily ever after should always be printed in green ink.

This is my confession: I am unabashedly in love with Submittable.

My secret is out.

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About Sharon Kurtzman

Sharon Kurtzman’s work can be found in numerous journals and magazines, including The Huffington Post, Better After 50, Hippocampus Magazine, South Writ Large, Crack the Spine, Cleaver Magazine, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Every Writer’s Resource: Stories, and Crab Fat Literary Magazine. Two of her fiction pieces were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is currently working on a novel and pursuing her MFA in Fiction Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Connect with her on Twitter @sharonkurtzman1, on Instagram @sharonkurtzman, or via her website, www.sharonkurtzman.com.