Reshaping the world in finite pieces

Kurt Vonnegut, in a commencement speech at Syracuse University in 1994, recalled a bit of wisdom about being an artist. One of Vonnegut’s high school teachers told him:

“What is it artists do? … They do two things,” he said. “First, they admit they can’t straighten out the whole universe. And then second, they make at least one little part of it exactly as it should be. A blob of clay, a square of canvas, a piece of paper, or whatever.”

Framing, designing, moving, making, building, rebuilding. These words took on a different meaning this year. Instead of remodeling, I started writing full time. So what tiny speck in the universe did I reshape? Well, on top of my Angie’s List articles, I had two short stories accepted by journals besides the UIndy lit mag:

Rejection is a huge part of publication—so I've been told.

Rejection is a huge part of publication—so I’ve been told.

Just two stories, after many rejections. Not countless rejections, though, thanks to Submittable.

To be honest, I would’ve liked to work on them more—writing, rewriting, forever. When I read The World in Our Image at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, I add-libbed a little. (I changed “lovers” at the end to “lovebirds.”)

I’m critical of my work, but that doesn’t mean I’m not proud. It just means I have room to grow, to mold myself into a better writer.


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