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Patricia Flaherty Pagan

dark Fiction & Poetry 

76 Words About My Writing Life

This winter, I was challenged to create a response to a quotation that inspired me. Bhanu Kapil’s call for courage and tenacity inspired me to share some of the facets of my writing life that keep me going, despite the unfinished chapters and those terse rejection emails every writer gets at some point.

“I give you the number 76. I encourage you not to give up until you’ve tried something seventy-six times, whether that’s applying for a job, revising a draft or sending it out. I encourage you to write with endurance and abandon.”
-Poet Bhanu Kapil

My Response

Seventy-six Words

Untether your thoughts and clench your will. Dare a poem. Wear green. Defy blank pages. Play “Born at the Right Time” once again. Wake up before your doubts. Cook stew. Use a freshly sharpened, flowered pencil. Twist again. Open cracked journals and embrace old friends. Delete adverbs. Remember Mr. Mechem, who taught you how to R.E.A.D. Sculpt. Send your novel that is “not suspenseful enough” to one more agent. Stay too stubborn to die.

Seventy-six words was first published in the WiVLA of Houston chapbook, “Inspired by Her Quote.”