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Submission

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Your stories have been read. And honestly, they’re not all that impressive. You send new ones everyday, creating piles of paper that could be reformed back into trees if given enough work.

 

Most are returned. You probably hang them on your wall or keep them nestled under your bed. Hoping that one day when you finally make it big, you’ll peer back over them and prove me wrong. If this latest batch is any indication of that, then you might as well give up with your embarrassment reserved for a different moment in life.

 

However, there you go continuing to force both of us into a state of mortification. You clamp your teeth together and let insults flow from your body. Your pen literally seething as it scribbles across a crinkled scrap of paper and envelope. I imagine the process is much like how a six year old writes — grey lid pencil held with a full fist by the eraser end. Smudges litter your page. You ramble about how I’m wrong and how you’ll soon match the greats of Hemingway, Shakespeare and anyone else you probably found in your high school library.

 

Still, even after you’ve personally insulted each limb and organ of my body, you always crawl back with a cheap laptop and one hundred dollars worth of manuscript software in hand.

 

But one time, you truly did write a beautiful piece. Each excerpt of prose was a poem that could be interpreted all on its own. Too bad your hold on English grammar was poorer than most foreign Ethiopians. Plus, editors cost money — mine not yours. So you’ll keep working at it, raping search engines with questions about spelling errors and semicolons.

 

Sometimes you’ll give up. Your process ends with a whimper at your desk, asking why you didn’t choose the career path of a noble plumber. The determination once burning within your soul is now ash over a campfire that was lit for too long. But you grin once a thought clicks; it’s about what the world is missing out on and how you’re the one who left it behind, not the other way around. When in reality, all that means is one less sample chapter for myself to drown in.

 

There is also another time when you continue the course, improving over the years. Because after you, a new wannabe will try their luck. You’ll send in a piece that checks all the right boxes, landing you a talk with someone else you’ll need to please. And when that happens, I’ll clap with genuine enthusiasm.

 

Perhaps by then, some day, I too will have a story worth telling.
 




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