I can tell you where and when the story began. It began at WorldCon, in Montreal, in 2009, as I listened to Cat Valente read her wonderful short story, "A Buyer's Guide to Maps of Antarctica."
(Go read it. It's extraordinary. I'll still be here when you're done.)
It was the structure I fell most in love with. The way the story was told in maps. I wanted to do something like that, too. So I needed a structure, something I could use to organize the story. Well, nineteen days after I got back from WorldCon, I defended my dissertation. The short version of which is, it was on the performative aspects of holiness in women's religious writing. Saints. I could use images of saints the way Cat used maps.
And so began "The Calendar of Saints."
The problem was, I had all these things I wanted the story to do, and it collapsed under the weight of my desires. I wasn't a good enough writer yet to be subtle, and I wasn't confident enough to make the changes I needed to in order to have a story, instead of an agenda. I finished it, because that is what I do, sent it to beta readers, realized they were right, and I didn't know how to fix what was wrong, and put it away. For over a year.
Then about three months ago, I sat bolt upright in bed one morning, and knew how to fix it. And now I am incredibly happy to tell you that I sold "The Calendar of Saints" to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I am really proud of this story, not just for the work it took me to get it here, but because it's about things that really, really matter to me, like truth, and faith. And fencing.
Oh, and for those who are interested in this sort of trivia, this is the first story I've sold that is long enough that I could have used it to apply to Clarion. 3500 words, which, for me, is like an epic.