For the past three years, I’ve entered Hippocampus Magazine’s Remember November creative non-fiction contest. During the early evening of November 1, I found out this year’s submission, 1001 Nights, had won.
In my letter to the editor, I described the piece as a love song to women. It is my story, but it is really the story of every woman, of all women. It is the story of remembrance but also of forgetting, of softness and of strength. Of survival and most of all, magic and power.
The very first story I had published back in 1996 was a short story called 99 Bottles of Beer. The bio accompanying the story has a line in it: “She’s been told she writes like a girl. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.”
For a time I stopped writing like a girl–or rather, I still wrote like a girl but I tried to pretend I didn’t. After several decades of writing, finally finishing a novel, and reaching the ripe old age of 46, I realized that writing like a girl is a gift. I would say now I write like a woman, but regardless, it is a gift I wear proudly.
Our stories, women’s stories, they often get buried under the epic stories of men. They’re subsumed. I want to change that. One story at a time.
1001 Nights is the beginning of that. It was a piece of passion for me, one that I am immensely proud of, not because it is my favorite or the best thing I’ve ever written, but because it opens up so much possibility. I want to create a literary space for the stories of women. I want to give them a platform. Pull them out from under the avalanche of history, buff them up, and watch them shine.
I would be thrilled if you’d take the time to read it. Asking readers to read your work is always a bit like walking a tight rope for me. It’s a lot to ask. It takes time and concentration. But when readers take the time to read, it validates what writers spend all our time doing. It makes it worthwhile.
While you are there, please read the stories which were chosen as runner-up and honorable mentions. They are, quite frankly, stunning.
I would love to hear your thoughts about 1001 Nights, there on the magazine page, or here on the blog.
But even more, I would love to hear your stories.