Yay! I finished a book today!

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. Finally, something to review on Goodreads.

I’m also pretty close to finishing up my re-read of Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, our current mentor of the month. Last time I read this book, I was thirteen. Around my birthday. Which is June 12. For those of you who don’t know–Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929. This makes her (or would have made her) exactly 50 years older than myself. Let me tell you, reading that she started her diary on a day very close in age to when I began reading it was a creepy, surreal, life-defining moment. In a way I think she’s always been an inspiration.

Today, she inspired me again. Please check out the following passage, from page 250 of the Definitive Edition, edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler:
“A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humerous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but…it remains to be seen whether I really have talent.”–Anne Frank

I sat there and about cried because, quite frankly (no pun intended!), the need of a writer was so clear. Writers need encouragement. They need readers. They need someone to know that what they have to say counts for something. And not only that our words count, but that our words are good. Creative. Refreshing. Emotionally relevent. So what do we do? We join writer’s groups, we make our ever-suffering families read works-in-progress, and

we enter contests.

Like I just did. Nathan Bransford, literary agent, author, and blogger extraordinaire, is hosting a first-paragraph contest on his blog. There’s almost 2,000 entries. I mean, that’s holy-moly-Batman-! kinda numbers. And I entered, hoping like the other almost 1,999 entrants that someone will like what I wrote.

Here’s the thing though:

You cannot base the assumption of your talent on a contest. You cannot. I repeat. You cannot. And, hell, let’s face it. Even if you made a million trillion dollars and won all the awards there was to be won and even if your mother loves it–a real writer, the one that sits down and writes and creates worlds and characters and magic, would alway say that “…it remains to be seen whether I really have talent.”

However, should you like to throw your writerly hat in the ring, here’s the link:
The 3rd-Sort-of-Annual-Stupendously-Ultimate-First-Paragraph-Challenge

Contests Mentors

jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

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