My First Time

Ever since I was a child, I loved the idea of publishing–that feeling of seeing the jumble of words scrawled in your notebook morph into perfectly-printed passages on glossy white paper. While I lived in Texas (up to 3rd grade), I was subscribed to two magazines, American Girl and New Moon Girls. I would read every issue front and back; my favorite parts were the personality quizzes in American Girl and the fiction section in New Moon. I really think every girl needs to read a magazine like New Moon; I remember that from the time I was very young, I felt that women and girls alike were extremely powerful–New Moon certainly had something to do with that. The magazine had sections profiling women with smart, interesting jobs, women in history, girls’ activism stories, and opinion columns on “un-feminist” ads and products. I swore to myself that one day, I would publish my own story in New Moon.

Of course, around the time I moved to Washington, I grew out of American Girl and New Moon, swapping them out for Time and National Geographic. The combination of impeccable writing and vivid, adrenaline-inducing pictures in National Geographic inspired middle school me to take an interest in photo-journalism. In my imagination, it was a glamorous job in which you could get paid to travel the world and write about interesting cultures, people and wildlife that catch your eye. But that plan never went that far.

Fast forward to the beginning of high school, and I am completely uncertain about my future. But I retained my love for writing. I wrote a short story called Remember the Time When… in ninth grade about a girl who pops in CDs full of old videos of her childhood. It was semi-autobiographical, inspired by my move from Plano, Texas to Bellevue, Washington. I actually emailed the story to my former best friend Celine (who I wrote about parting from in my story) and her family. We later skyped and we had a brief reunion in China along with our families. But besides that, I left it untouched saved on my desktop.

It wasn’t until jsop year that I opened up the file again; for some reason, I felt a kind of nostalgia and it wasn’t because of Celine or any specific memory in my story. I realized that it almost felt like I was reading something from New Moon Girls magazine again! The tone of my story was so similar to the stories I used to read in the fiction section. I decided to pay homage to my former self’s dream and submitted my story to New Moon. About a month later, I got a reply from Helen Cordes, executive editor of New Moon saying that they wanted to publish my story. I read the email at least four times through before prancing over and showing it to my parents. For the whole day, I was ecstatic. Not only would I be published for the first time in my life, I was also getting published by the magazine I had read and treasured for years as a child. 

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Pictures of the issue:

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And… my short story! Thank you so much Gaia Orlon! The pictures you drew were perfect 🙂

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So that was my first experience getting published and also my most memorable. I’m curious, do any of you guys reading this remember your first experience?

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