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I Am Ready to Write

  • Date Submitted: 04/24/2014 12:21 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 74.8 
  • Words: 1067
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I’m Ready to Write

 

I had been scribbling in diaries and journals for years. My letters to the editor were known for their eloquent ferocity. A talent for writing was the only plausible explanation for my behavior.

 

I had only recently discovered the essay as a genre. I took to it immediately and had had some modest success in getting my essays published on a wide range of websites, from off-the-wall e-zines to on-line literary journals.

 

Was I ready? Was I ready for a real test-to submit my work to the state arts commission for an individual writers grant? At first I thought the idea was laughable. Who the hell did I think I was?

 

My mom knew. She would hold my face in her hands and stare directly into my eyes and say, "You are a writer! Repeat after me: 'I am a writer!' "

 

If my mom believed that, I would not argue with her. I would collaborate in the fiction for now. I began to search for the pieces I would submit.

 

I looked for the essays with a real punch to them. I would include those that had been published or had received at least an honorable mention. There was that one I wrote about going to Mexico. Then one of my canoe essays. Not something corny like me and Ed on the Allegheny, but the one where I used paddling as a platform to view our Mad Max transportation system. I included another longer piece and then a couple of my short pieces.

 

Reviewing the essays, I became self-conscious about my style. It is too popular to be literary, and too literary to be popular. It combines gravitas with humor. There are well-regarded authors whose style is not so different from my own, but what style are the reviewers looking for? Are they the super pure literary types that will dismiss my essays for having a social or political consciousness? Literature! Not polemics! Jack Warner was right: 'If you want to send a message, go to Western Union! Take your soap box and be gone!'

 

I was making myself...

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