It appears that there has been some confusion over “Lost & Found” at Ruthie’s. I was led to believe it had been accepted but it transpires that it hasn’t. Neither has it been rejected. It is still very much under consideration.
As I first thought it might, it seems that my use of the Iraq war as a point of conflict for the characters within the story has proven to be a hot one, and the management at Ruthie’s are still deciding if it’s too hot. In Des’ own words, “Ruthie’s isn’t a political platform.” I fully accept that – however, “Lost & Found” isn’t a politically motivated story. I don’t want to preach my views – the views in the story aren’t necessarily even mine (although given that both sides of the argument are expressed you could argue that they are).
In the story, I used the death of a solider and his subsequent burial as a hero as a plot device. It, and the Iraq war, are both points of conflict for the father and daughter in the story, and are what brings the daughters online lover across the Atlantic to see her. I suppose that I could change the point of conflict – maybe invent a new war – but I think that would be fairly transparent and quite cowardly. I stand by what I’ve written and the way I’ve written it and I’m not willing to compromise.
However, I also accept, as I always have, that I don’t have an automatic right to be published at Ruthie’s and if the management feel they can’t publish this story for political reasons, then I fully accept that. I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll accept it.
While Des has said it’s the issue of the war that’s causing the delay (every member of the management will have to read the story and agree to publish it instead of just Neil), she hasn’t said if it’s any particular bit that making them uncomfortable. I suspect its the scene chapter 3 where Beth’s father confronts Chris and they have a rather heated discussion about the reasons for going to war. It is (in my opinion) one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever written and I wouldn’t want to lose it.
If any of my writer friends would like to read the story privately in advance of Ruthie’s decision, to see what all the fuss is about, then please feel free to mail me here and I’ll send you a copy. I can supply in openDoc format, Word or pdf – please state your preference.