George and his sudden success

The poetry world was abuzz. Out of nowhere George was thrust into the public stage. They said he was a quiet man who lived in a small farmhouse in Maine. (Or was it Vermont? Does it matter?)

They say his word choice is exquisite and the effects of the precise order and pacing of his pieces are almost alchemical.

They say his poetry emerges fully formed while milking cows or tending to his fields or some other farm-like task.

(He lives in a colonial in an affluent suburb just outside of Boston.)

He simply comes into his cottage, cheeks rosy from the cold and pulls up a chair next to his wife, Grace, who is usually kneading bread.

“Honey” he says. “Guess what I was thinking.”

Usually she lets out a shriek.

“Not another word George!” She cries and she brushes the flour off her hands. Bits cover her cotton apron but she knows he’s going to say something monumental so she puts vanity aside.

She pulls the shopping list from their icebox and grabs a pencil. She looks intently at him.

“Now George. I’m ready”

And words flow from his mouth in their finished state. Grace embraces him with joy, tucks the scrap of poetry away and then makes him a cup of coffee.

(After his morning stroll, George passes Grace on her way to the office. They embrace briefly. He then makes a coffee and settles into his office for a few hours before heading off to his job. He choses each word carefully, sometimes thumbing through an dog-eared thesaurus that he kept from his undergraduate days. He considered rewrites to be the key to a tight, well-crafted piece. Generally he only shares his work with his editor but occasionally he will read aloud the final drafts to Grace over a glass of wine. Her feedback is disappointing to say the least. Quite honestly, she doesn’t know what to say. Poetry is not really her thing.)

They say Grace collected the scraps of poetry in a coupon envelope and drove their old pick up to New York to meet with the publisher of a prestigious magazine. The editors thought it would be a fun diversion to see the work she held in her chapped, calloused hands. She trembled slightly when she walked up to the polished conference room table. Her voice was clear and true as she read George poetry. The editor wept silently. They published his work in the next issue.

(George has submitted his work consistently for nearly a decade. He attended workshops, networked, and most importantly honed his skills. He looked at each piece with a critical eye. He was systematic in his approach. He never let the rejections get him down. He felt each no brought him closer to his first yes. Then one day, the yes finally arrived. A prestigious magazine was going to publish him in their next issue.)

George was an instant success.


Thinking about hard work and inspired by the daily prompt, suddenly.

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