to publish?

I just noticed yesterday that my story Baby killer appeared in SojoMail last month. That's the weekly e-mail from Sojourners magazine (which goes out to about 100,000 people). One of their editors had seen the story in the Shalom Communities newsletter (which Reba Place contributes to), and asked if they could use it. I'm glad to see they did.

This brings up some interesting questions related to "fruitfulness." Is it important to get my work published? Is this something I should pursue?

My initial inclination is "to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself" (as Merton recommended). Which would be to just write (or build or serve) as truthfully, as faithfully, as possible and not worry whether very many people see it or if it is widely appreciated.

I've already firmly set aside the possibility of selling my work. But that still leaves the question of whether I should more actively try to find people to give it to. It makes me think of a time a man was passing out literature in a subway and I said no thanks. He got angry. And challenged me for saying no when I didn't even know what I was saying no to. I thought about that later. Trying to figure out why I did automatically say no. And I think it had something to do with my experience of what it's usually about when people are passing stuff out on street corners or on subways: They want something. Like your business, or donations. Or converts. I don't want to come across like that. Real gifts respond to a need (or desire), and so are wanted and appreciated; they don't push themselves on people.

Like what happened with this story. I think I'll take it as an example of what God can do when I'm not even trying to promote my work or be "successful"...