Gay Chicago Magazine

Gay Chicago Magazine 1
Gay Chicago Magazine 2

Once upon a time, I wrote a modern fairy tale. Writing what I knew I had published nothing and decided to try writing what I did not know. I’m not gay, but I wrote a gay short story. In 1979, such stories were not mainstream, hardly as common as they were to become in the next decade or three, but among the magazines I queried was Gay Chicago Magazine. Considering my past record, I wasn’t expecting much, but I received a call from one of the publishers saying they liked the story, but didn’t publish fiction—at least (he chuckled), not that they were aware of!

I chuckled in sympathy, but followed with a sigh, anticipating another brush-off. I was about to thank him for his call, for letting me know they had enjoyed the story—when he said they would like to publish it if we could come to grips with a couple of difficulties. I was suddenly listening so closely I might have grown a third ear.

First of all, it was a long story. Gay Chicago Magazine was a 64-page booklet (8″ x 5½″). The story would take up an entire issue. I held my breath, wondering if he planned to devote an entire issue to the story. Instead, he asked if I would mind publishing the story in installments. Not only did I not mind, I would have paid him to publish the story (but I said nothing about that).

Secondly, they had never paid for articles. What did I expect for the story? I said I would be happy with whatever they could afford. He offered $100, a generous sum even today for a short story, even a long short story, more generous by far in 1979, and they published the story in 12 installments, swelling my resume from 0 publications to 12 in one fell swoop! My writerly life was to get much worse before it got better, but I was off to a great beginning.

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