To Thine Own Self
By Judith Cullen
I came into the possession of a literary journal recently. I took it home, excited to turn its pages and enjoy the work of fellow scribes. That I would consider myself a peer with people recognized as “Literary Fellows” as these were, is a major step in confidence in itself. I may be a humble self-published writer of fiction and essays, but I felt I deserved to belong simply because I do consider myself a writer. By the same token, after years of qualifying my stage design work with the word “craftsman,” I now do regard myself as an artist.
I began to read the first essay. I stopped. I couldn’t read it. The form was so self-conscious that I was distracted from the words. “Maybe it is just this author” I thought and turned the page to another story. Same thing, another composition so wrapped in its form and its own erudition. “I’m not stupid,” I thought. But these works made me feel so, because there was an “it” to be got, and I just didn’t. I realized that I was waiting for someone to tell me a story, to transport me into a world of their imagination and thoughts. Note to self: I love stories.