After facing rejection 22 times, University of Rhode Island graduate Theo Greenblatt will have her short story “Solitaire” published in the April-May issue of The London Magazine.
Greenblatt’s “Solitaire” is a character driven piece that is about a female narrator who befriends a young girl during difficult times over a card game of solitaire. Throughout their game, the narrator and girl form a greater bond.
Her inspiration evolved from a news story about a girl who connected with a man online who was a stranger to her. The man picked her up and essentially kidnapped her. Greenblatt wondered what made this girl desperate enough to trust a stranger online. She wanted to explore the possible psychology of the girl a bit more and asked herself “what kind of relationship needed to be in her [the girl’s] life?” Thus, inspiration for “Solitaire” came about.
“Solitaire” took Greenblatt around a couple of months to write, and she finished it within the last couple of years. She found out that she won the contest in The London Magazine at the end of this past January. When Greenblatt found out she had won and her story was going to be published in such a widely read publication, she was shocked.
“It was so unexpected and it was really a honor,” said Greenblatt. “Every publication is [something] to feel good about but this magazine has a great history.”
Dealing with rejection is something that every writer who is trying to get published faces. In Greenblatt’s eyes it’s just part of the process. Rejection to her doesn’t mean failure.
“You really have to have confidence in your writing…because rejection doesn’t mean complete…there’s a lot variables and competition…You have to have confidence that it [your writing] will find itself out there at the right time,” said Greenblatt. “I guess that’s what happened with ‘Solitaire.’”
Greenblatt first got her bachelor’s degree at Roger Williams University studying English literature. She then received her masters degree in English, focusing on a concentration in rhetoric, at URI in 2001. In 2010, she completed her PhD in English with a focus in rhetoric and creative fiction also at URI.
Greenblatt became a teacher assistant as a graduate student at URI. Before that she never considered teaching as something she wanted to do. Surprisingly, she took a great liking to teaching and is now a teacher at Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, where she teaches English focusing on writing composition. Without becoming a teacher assistant at URI, it’s likely Greenblatt wouldn’t have found her interest in teaching.
URI also helped her realize that she really did love creative writing, both nonfiction and fiction. Before, she never quite realized that she was capable of writing to this extent.
“I didn’t have much confidence in my writing…I thought you had to have some sort of writing genius to succeed,” she said. She passes this message onto her students, reminding them that with hard work they too can be writers.
Around 2011, Greenblatt received her first print publication in a British Magazine called Estetica. It was a short story titled “Little Joe” and was about a young boy reflecting on the relationship he didn’t have with his father. Since then, she’s had many more successful publications, and just about every week she’s submitting more of her pieces in an attempt to get published.
Not only does Greenblatt get her story published in the April-May issue of The London Magazine, but she also will receive $700 and will be attending a prize giving ceremony at the House of Commons in London with one of her daughters. She advises other writers who are trying to get published “to be persistent. To have confidence in your writing even when you’re getting rejected. To find a good support network and to get feedback on your writing.”