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Deb Talks Back
Deb interviews self, discusses civic duty, getting published, pain of keeping obscurity secert.
Experts in medical community think Ira is almost ready for release. Experts in family think medical community is wrong.
Experts: Odds would have eventually been in her favor
by DEBORAH SCHWARTZ
NEW YORK—After five years of submitting stories and over twenty years of intense dreaming, Deborah Schwartz is finally getting published.
In early 2004, Schwartz had been contemplating giving up aspirations of becoming a quasi-famous writer. Her husband, Brian Geller, responded by submitting a story of his wife’s to several writing competitions.
"When I found out what he did," said Schwartz, "I yelled at him. Those contests can be ten or 15 bucks a pop, and the chances of winning are minute. That's $45 down the drain. Do you know how many happy-hour-priced beers that would buy?"
To Schwartz's–and Geller’s–surprise, she won one of the contests. In June, she received the phone call at work. Forgetting her husband had entered her in the contest, Schwartz mistook the congratulatory call for a prank. Once the good news set in, she shrieked with joy such that coworkers mistook the sound for the blood-curdling rattle of a dying chicken.
Geller was thrilled to hear the good news. "I knew she could do it," he said. "I believed in her even when she didn’t believe in herself. I wonder how many points I get for this one."
Geller has since employed "the contest" during a number of "arguments," most recently after forgetting to purchase avocados for a taco dinner.
Schwartz began writing at a young age. Her first major work was a play entitled "The Greedy Witch," which she wrote and directed in the second grade. She was co-editor-in-chief of her high school literary magazine, majored in creative writing in college, and went on to graduate school for fiction writing. Since the age of eight, she has written numerous plays, poems, essays, and short fiction pieces, "Mostly because I knew I wanted to be an artist, but I had no visual art skills."
But Schwartz couldn’t get published. "I even began collecting my rejection letters. I post them on my website to make me feel better, like 'Ha! I got the last word!' I was beginning to define myself as a loser. Now I will have to reassess everything."
Schwartz’s short story will appear in Arts & Letters: Journal of Contemporary Culture in the fall of 2004. She will be flown in to an awards ceremony in November where she will be presented with a check for $1,000.
"You can buy a whole crapload of happy-hour beer with that kind of dough," Schwartz said. "I think I'll keep trying this writing thing. If I don't get famous, maybe I can at least get rich."
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