Paradise By The Dashboard Light – Firsts

I was warming up my truck very early yesterday, the morning still encased in darkness despite the hour time shift we gained earlier in the week.  We live out of town and it tends to get very dark so the only light presence I had was that emanating from the dashboard along with a small light I had left on in the kitchen.  Staring at the dashboard lights for a moment, I had a thought: a thought about firsts. My mind tends to wander like that at times, the whole six degrees of separation thing or in my case sometimes seven or eight. Dashboard lights, manual transmission, truck parked in first, … oh never mind, trust me it just happens.


According to Merriam-Webster, first is defined as “coming before all others in time, order, and importance.”  I would agree with time and order. Importance might be subject for debate but for this post, I will go along with importance.

Everybody remembers their first. It should be something special. Something magical. An experience that leaves you salivating for the second, but always appreciative of the first.  I was always nervous about my first. It wasn’t like I didn’t want it to happen because I did. I suppose I was just nervous about sharing something so private, exposing myself, maybe even afraid I would be no good at it or not measure up. I’m really not sure why I felt that way. It wasn’t like I hadn’t practiced or prepared for it. I did. Sometimes first thing in the morning and often other times late at night yet I was still afraid.

For some people, this all seems to come so natural, or so it seems to those still waiting on the sidelines. Sure, their first was special, important even, and so was the second and now here they are talking about their fourth or fifth as casually as they might discuss what they had for breakfast. One women I know, is now on her eighth, and I guy I really look up to, a King of sorts, is now at fifty plus.  I just wanted a first. I knew if I could experience that, the second then third would come so much easier and I, hopefully, would be better each time.  I’d had encouragement. A few friends, all females by the way, had been there for me, telling me it would happen. No worries.

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So I put myself out there and it happened. Well almost happened, more of a promise to happen. I had been hoping for someone with more experience and had to settle for someone with slightly less experience. But does that really matter or make it less important? The fact is that someone with more experience was a first to someone else at some point. Yet here I was willing to allow my first to be with someone slightly less experienced but with experience nonetheless. I looked at the company I would be in and agreed. It would be MY first and coming before all others in time, order, and yes, importance… for now.

Under the light of the dashboard lights, I checked email on my phone and re-read two emails I had received earlier in the week. One stated that I was being considered for publication in a collection of short stories and with that, could also appear in one of their magazine issues.  The other one, from the same magazine, was received a few days later. It simply said “Your short story will be published in our second book of short stories.”

It will be my first and I’m excited.


  1. Mary Rowen

    Congratulations, Bill!! I’m so happy for you, and am sure there will be lots more to follow!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thanks Mary!

  2. philosophoenix

    I had a feeling it was about being published, but other ideas…inspired by the title and your use of language brought that oh-so-important first to mind.

    In a way, you’re about to lose a virginity of sorts. I’ve always seen the writing process as an odd mirror for the carnal, so that’s not a huge leap of logic, to my mind, anyway. It’s just a different kind of intercourse.

    Lovely post, as always.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Quite logical in my mind as well. Thank you Erin.

  3. denarogers

    For a minute there, I thought, boy Bill is really putting himself out there. We might learn more than what we want to know about him today 🙂

    Congrats! But of course I knew it was just a matter of time.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Ha! It was TMI Saturday but I did refrain. Thanks Dena.

    • emmawicker

      ROFL!!! I honestly did too and then the end YAY!! I’m so happy for you Bill, really, genuinely excited for you. As a Brit would say, Bloody Good Show Sir! And a bloody good post too. We all believed in you and we still do 🙂

      • W.C. Cunningham

        Thanks Em… and I know you both did/do. 🙂

  4. Charli Mills

    Clever way to lead us on! But you can’t beat a first like publication when you’re a writer! Congratulations…soon you’ll be on your eighth and beyond!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thanks Charli. I was just trying to add a little humor to it 🙂

  5. Lori Lesko

    WOW Bill! That is awesome!! Let us know when it is in print.

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thank Lori and thank you for dropping by and reading! Will let you know when it’s out.

  6. Elena (mrsbip0lar)

    Congratulations! And thank you, now the song is stuck in my head!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thanks Elena. Don’t you hate that when you get some song stuck in your head?

  7. sasloveswords

    Amazing news!! Congrats. 🙂

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thanks Melissa! It’s a start and i’ll gladly take it.

  8. Vashti Quiroz-Vega

    Ah, ha, ha, ha! I guess you’re no longer a publication virgin. Congratulations! 😉

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thanks Vashti!

  9. Anjali

    Congratulations Bill! Really really happy for you! And boy did you tantalise 😉 Ha ha!

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thanks Anjali!

  10. Ruebi

    Congratulations Bill, that is amazing news! 😀

    • W.C. Cunningham

      Thank you Ruebi!

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