Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Next Great Writer Shares Her Work

This year's Next Great Writer winner, Hannah Legris, shares an excerpt of her winning piece, "Long Enough." The text will be available in full on the website soon!

She writes...

"The first time she noticed how bad it was, she was ten. It was after school, and she was wearing her blue shirt with the bunnies all over it. She had painted the shirt in school and then it had folded over and stuck to itself before it got a chance to dry; the bunnies were all crooked and raggedy with little tufts of puff-paint fur growing wild at the edges of their bodies. They were running across the middle of the shirt, and she could see how ugly they looked in the mirror that day, even though they had never looked so disfigured before. But the bunny shirt wasn't the first thing that she noticed in the wavy bathroom mirror. She had stared at only one part of her face; she had only been able to examine the way her teeth hung out of her mouth like oversized pieces of Trident gum, the way they straggled across her lip like foreign objects, out of place and misshapen.

She hated her teeth, she realized, standing in front of the bathroom mirror. She hated the way they overpowered the rest of her narrow face, how they placed themselves so prominently in the middle of everything else. The teeth became her defining characteristic, though just as clearly her hair looked like it was glowing in the reflection, standing out unnatural orange against the rose pink of the tiles behind her. She noticed her hair for a moment, and then she tried to close her mouth over her teeth again, and couldn't. Suddenly, distinctly, she felt like an alien, an alien unable to blend into human society, grossly out of place and lonely.

Every day, she hated her teeth more and more. They became the center of everything that she despised, looming in the middle of her of her face, a constant reminder of imperfection. In front of the mirror, she would touch her teeth to see if they would move, would shift suddenly and miraculously back into place. Occasionally, she thought of the realignment of her mouth as a decision that her teeth could make autonomously and with a little gentle coaxing from her index finger against the enamel, but thinking like that only made her even more disgusted with her teeth—why couldn't they just fix themselves?"

Stay tuned for details on our next writing contest, Short Stories ONLY!


No comments: