In the thralls of Thanksgiving thankiness, there's one thing that editors and writing group members and critiquers uniquely experience.
Stories that change their lives--that no one else might ever know.
Some of these come in the forms of manuscripts we reject or manuscripts we ask for revisions on that the writer refuses to make. They could be great stories, great seeds of stories, or great ideas. They just don't meet our needs, still need a lot of work, or were not allowed to germinate enough before the author spread them on a page.
Others come in short lived critique groups. The members who bring in a piece of a novel that they've been working on for a decade and will continue to edit until the day they die; novels and short stories that never see the light of day outside of critique group. The authors may never get the courage to submit, or may submit and get a single rejection and quit, or may never have intended to submit their work for publication.
And, for me, another small bunch comes from freelance work that people pay me to edit… that, for some reason or other, never gets published. The author may give up, the author may never finish, or the author may get distracted with Other Life till the day he or she dies.
These stories, or even germs of stories, still touch me, still affect me.
The written word is still sacred. It's a piece of someone's heart that they have shared with me, bared to me, and something like that still affects a True Believer in the Power of the Word.
Part of me mourns that no one else, or few others, will get the chance to experience the touch of these particular words. Another part mourns that the author may not get the recognition she or he deserves.
Yet another part secretly savors the fact that I had the rare honor to be part of the story's journey, to be one of the ones it touched.
Even if you never publish a story, remember it's never a lost cause. It's touched anyone who has read it, changed their lives. It definitely changed you for writing it.
So, after the Thanksgiving rush, let those of us with this honor, pause and give thanks for the stories that touched us… that no one else may ever read.