What Sells

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Ever since she was little she wrote— stories, poems, or little pieces of beauty that would enter her mind. Her fingers fidgeted without a writing utensil in her hand. She kept a box on a shelf that had all of her writings in it. There were long pieces that took up many pages, with wrinkles and stains on them. Then there were stray torn off pieces of paper with little scribbles on them and ones curled into such a tight ball that you were sure would tear if you were to try and pry them open. With the abundance of paper and colors in the box you would think they were all the writings the girl had ever written. But some escaped its grasp; Pieces with tears staining them, or ones that had been ripped to shreds, words that had been erased, but allowed you to see the faint writing. These writings were too good to make it into the box. They were sitting somewhere far away, with the pile of banana peels and other discarded items. Sometimes the girls mind wandered off to these writings, but mostly she just blocked them, and finally forgot about them.
Then the little girl grew up. She already knew what she wanted to be, a writer. She hoped to someday publish her own that book that would be flying off the shelves. Some of her friends didn’t understand, discouraged her dream, and said it would probably never happen. The box collected dust and was only opened once, in the next few years, to put a small piece of writing in it that earned a 100% in class. More writings took place, in secret, but they ended up with the rotten apple cores.
After college the girl started writing a book. She sat in her small apartment, now with a computer in front of her and a keyboard, instead of a pencil in her hand. It was the most beautiful, intricate piece she had ever written. She had poured her soul into that book, and it was hers, all hers. It took her over two years. She kept editing it and editing it, making it ready for the day when it would be published. Finally, that day came. She mailed the book, 287 pages, with her name written on front. She glowed with pride as she walked back to her dingy apartment. She sat staring at the box for a while, and then, took it off the shelf, set it on the ground and sifted through her childhood pieces of writing. She laughed, while rereading them, remembering that day, but a pang of regret shot through her, for the writings that were no more.
The day came when the girl got her writing back. She was nervous, excited, but when she opened it she found a big declined stamp on the front. She was crushed, felt her head start to spin, but then she found a small piece of paper sticking out near the bottom. She read it and rushed home to her computer. She pulled up the original copy and deleted whole sections of her writing, adding new parts the paper said to add, even cutting out parts that were her favorite, ripping out text that revealed her true self. She produced surgery on her writing, a new piece emerging in the end. The deleted spots were forever gone, just like the others.
She re-sent the book. A while later it came back to her. All of the woman’s dreams had come true. She had a book published. It was the happiest day of her life.

The woman, as so many others do to, changed, hid, or just plain deleted her writing. She threw away some of her writings, because she was ashamed, and scared that they might get out, and her secrets would be revealed. She only showed what others thought were best, so she could get into a good college. She mutilated her book to please others. Some of her writings would only be seen by her, and those were the best, because they were for herself, not for someone else to judge and see. She changed her book, her best writing because that’s what sells.





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