Tuesday, March 13, 2007

day one: standing up

I read you. I read you twice, three times, four. I read you aloud. I fell asleep with you. You kept me company on the train. I spilled coffee and tea and soup and chocolate cake on you (sorry about that). And then it came time to talk about you. I served as a panelist judge for a fiction contest. I sat at the table and I fought hard. I listened, I nodded, I responded, but I didn’t back down. My heart knocked fast and breathless. I was the youngest at the table. Maybe you were the youngest in the pile, or the oldest, or the poorest, or the least experienced, or the most. I was on your side. I had heard you, when I read your stories, and now it was time to defend you, to stand up for you. There were winners, and the winners will get rewarded, as winners sometimes do (not often enough), and the winners will know what we thought of them, but I would like the non-winners to know too, the nearly, the close. You are close. You are almost there. You send these folded or bound or stapled pages out, and it’s hard to know: who is reading them? This time, I read them. I read you, and I heard you, and I hope you can hear me. My ink was blue. I made many notes. You kept me up at night. You are close. You are close. You are almost there.