Maggie Woychik

Chila “Maggie” Woychik works with a marvelous team at Port Yonder Press, including Linda, Lisa C., Lisa L., Suzanne, Naomi, Susan, Holly, Anna, Tony, and Aidana. She's an award-winning, multipublished magazine author with many dozens of articles in print. She has appeared in War Cry, Young Salvationist, Wesleyan Advocate, Woman’s Touch, Christian Women Today, and numerous others. Her first sustained release was a book of devotional essays titled I Run to the Hills: Reflections on the Christian Journey. She currently edits and publishes at the Port ( in Iowa. Her next book will be a writing memoir.

Imprisonment and Release

A publisher has no life. Bound up in details, I live in an author-eat-author world. I act as proverbial judge, jury, executioner.

New judges can make mistakes but try to limit them. If hasty, they can convict the innocent while condemning the guilty. Too many good books have died in the penitentiary of a publisher’s whims. Conversely, others have been released that should have rolled via the executioner’s block.

We can make what often amounts to arbitrary choices due to the flood of paperwork thrust upon the judgment bar: “Free the convicted!” “Sentence commuted!” “Life without parole!”

We are looked to as robed gods: Heartless statues draped in black who, if mollified, will grant an author’s wildest dreams—an everlasting memorial on Heaven’s Hall of Writerly Fame.

At the end of the day the courtroom empties, the sanctuary rings hollow, and we stand alone, disrobed, smudged, and unmistakably human (traits we inherently possess but which few choose to notice). Gavel aside, I step off the (manmade) pedestal and palm a pen. I become the defendant, etch my sentence and determine my fate.

I sit at the entrance to the cell block of life. I’ve been asked to write, and knowing the warden’s penchant for excellence, I dare not refuse. I am prisoner; I am warden. For the next days and lifetimes, I pay for my mistakes, scratch out my confessions, envision an electric chair.

The day finally arrives. I hear heavy steps on the hallway down from me. Rounding the bend and clacking in unison, the steady footfalls play on my nerves. I scribble out a few last words, hoping they will do. I append a name.

It can’t be long now before the verdict falls. Is this what every writer must face? Will the ruling be as fair as those I strive to render? Time will tell; the waiting is unendurable.

A hulking form (made larger by the shadows) strides confidently up, flagged by minions of comparative influence. “Give it to me,” he barks. (Or is it a she? Gender loses significance in this land of risk.) He grabs my pile of life—those pages of me—and begins to finger them like so much trash.

He snickers and sneers, then glances over the top to view the submissive. Yes, I admit it: He’s got me. I’m his. I’ve sold my soul for his affection and now I pay.

Meekly I rise and follow the heartless automaton leading me out. We come to a door, metal and foreboding. He sneaks a last look back at me, confident judge turned cowering author; he sneers again. The door creaks open, he pushes me through, and I find myself staring at my laptop, hammering on multilettered keys, tense . . .

I love writing. I can’t imagine life without it. Though publishing is my profession, writing is my passion.

I publish to further the cause of great books and authors. I write to find myself and release that knowledge to the wind.

For me, writing is integral to living, to breathing: It’s cell deep and tight. Without it I die, limb by unleafed limb.

I write when I can, between phone calls, e-mails, while relaxing on the couch at the end of the day with hubby. Writing drains off the publishing stresses that threaten to press me between their dog-eared pages.

I enjoy sitting with the computer on my lap at night while watching a movie. I peck away at my latest work in progress, a book of vignettes and poems, a sort of memoir of what I’ve learned in this fleeting lifetime. For me it’s about as close to heaven on earth as I can imagine. And when my family’s close by or a friend’s on the line, a toe is touching glory.