Writing for writing sake is wonderful. It can fulfill an individual artistic need; it can be a kind of therapy; it can scratch a creative itch. But it is not enough.
Here in the shed I keep an old guitar. I’ve written about it before. It’s a six-string acoustic Yamaha I bought in the early 1970s when I was in high school with money I made from delivering newspapers. Yes, I was a paper boy, a job that not longer exists. I keep the guitar in the shed to fool around, to combine a few chords for fun; and occasionally write music. Some of it I have shared in myriad ways.
Employing that guitar only to scratch that creative itch would be beneficial, helpful, and maybe even artistically satisfying. But it is not enough.
I contend that any creative endeavor must be shared. It’s part of the continuum of art. Contemplate it. Make it. Share it. Sharing it is part of the process. Music, writing, painting, art of all types is communal. It is meant to be offered up to the world.
And that brings me to this.
Each year, the Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, IL conducts a Hemingway Shorts Contest. The word “contest” really doesn’t fit, although there is a cash prize for the best short piece. Mainly, Hemingway Shorts was created fo promote the idea of sharing your art. It calls for submissions and eleven of the best stories, including the top piece, are published in the Foundation’s annual literary magazine. The idea is to support writers of all kinds and writers at varying stages of their writing life. Part of the Hemingway Shorts project includes an essays scholarship for high school students.
It’s time for you to share. Write your story and share it with the Hemingway Foundation for a chance to be recognized and possibly published. The Foundation looks for work that touches the head and the heart, that moves us, that challenges us, that makes us think.
Come share your work. Share with us. And maybe someday I’ll record a song here in the shed on this old guitar and let you have a listen. After all, that would be in the spirit of things, now wouldn’t it?