His favorite color was blue. Her favorite color was red. His favorite color was red.
Musette works in a kitchen run by Geoffrey Bordeaux. Once a year Chef Geoffrey throws a massive party, renting out an entire bar, and inviting the best local restaurants to provide platters of food. Each of his employees gets an invitation and a plus-1. I was Musette’s plus-1 this year.
It was an eighties themed party. Musette called me after she got off work and said she was going to the mall to look for hoop earrings. She was hoping to find a dollar pair. She would have liked to buy more party articles but I acted as the voice of reason, preventing her purchases.
In the end, she didn’t even buy earrings, because the least expensive pair cost $4.50.
We went to Target. She found lipstick for a dollar. It was neon pink. It was the only piece of costume we bought. Everything else was scrounged from things we already owned.
I thought it would be easier than it was, but it took us three hours of trying things on before we settled, I picking a nice pair of rarely worn jeans and a blue striped T-shirt which reminded me of a gondola driver’s; she chose a pair of jeans as well and her favorite loose fitting sweater. We both wore Doc Martins; she wearing hers on the outside of her pants, with the tops folded out like wings, but my jeans being bootcut, forcing me to wear my boots on the inside of my pants, where they looked as little ridiculous as possible.
She didn’t even wear the lipstick she bought. By the time she started doing her makeup she was so stressed that she started picking her face. When I saw what she had done I figured the party was off; but apparently it was too important to her.
She decided not to wear makeup, as it would only draw attention to her face.
With a few forward brushes I created a hideous wave of bangs. It is a style that comes naturally to my hair, being that I am a child of the eighties. Musette, also a child of the eighties, pulled off a side ponytail beautifully, crimping her hair with her fingers the same way one twirls ribbons on Christmas presents with scissors.
We were both planning on wearing headbands, but in the end only I wore one. It was made out of the seam of my boxer shorts. Musette was going to wear one. Hers was to be made out of the bridesmaid sash she had been given for my sister’s wedding. It was the same color pink as her lipstick but once the lipstick went, so did the sash.
We left the apartment. It was a long journey, over thirty minutes walking. We had to cross a river into an industrial area. A group of homeless people played a drum circle at the end of the street. Musette saw what they were eating and said, “That looks good.”
“No it doesn’t.” I replied.
Saphire was on the phone with Musette for the last three blocks trying to convince her that we were going the wrong way. I had my phone on GPS, and kept telling her that Sapphire is an idiot.
The bar was called The Black Falcon. We could hear music emanating from four blocks off. It was packed with Musette’s co-workers. Saphire looked ten times the eighties we did, but most everybody else was underwhelming. She was wearing a black leather jacket, her hair had been permed, she had on high heeled boots, ripped jeans, and even fishnet, fingerless gloves.
She had lipstick on.
We were greeted with a welcome shot of whiskey. Musette took three gulps to get hers down. She had never taken a whiskey shot before, or even drainken whiskey straight.
After the shot I was immersed in inside conversation. Musette told me I could smoke if I wanted to and that we would buy Kevin a shot in exchange for some of his cigarettes.
‘Thank God.’ I told myself, saying earlier that I wasn’t going to go around asking for cigarettes.
We went out to a huge outdoor patio. There was a DJ booth set up. The food tables were out here but for some reason Musette didn’t want to eat.
“Well, I’m making myself a sandwich.” I said, dishing a spoonful of chicken bits onto a roll.
It was paradise. I’d had a long day’s fast. Just like the first Sundays, except now God was commanding it rather than my family doing it to please him.
We got a beer, a red one, it’s always the red ones recently. They are Musette’s current favorite. This one tasted bitter. I didn’t like it. I let her drink most of it. I sipped from of a mini coke chaser, trying to trick myself into staying sober longer.
The drinks were supposed to be on Chef Geoffrey’s tab, but they weren’t.
“This is going to be brutal…” Musette said, transferring money from our savings account into our checking account.
I only got to smoke one of Kevin’s cigarettes before he left. It was a Camel, which I was happy about. He would have probably let me smoke more, because we got him his shot, but his girlfriend demanded that he leave.
She didn’t like Musette. She also didn’t like Kevin having fun. She had two kids. Kevin gave us the excuse of needing to take care of them as his reason for leaving.
I asked him how long he had been at the party. He told me since two, when the party started. He said he had went home, got dressed, and came straight here.
“So did we.” I said, making a joke about how long it took us to get ready.
And then we bought shots for all of Musette’s friends. This allowed me to ask Hank for some of his cigarettes.
“They’re American Spirits.” He told me, handing me one.
“Thank God.” I said.
He was wearing a cut-off Michael Jackson shirt, a bandana as a sweatband, and he had an actual earring in his ear.
He asked me what type of music I liked.
“Weird stuff.” I responded.
“Music, that’s what kind of music I like.” he said.
And then he asked me if I like punk.
“Not really.” I said.
Apparently that was his favorite type of music.
I knew I had to keep the conversation going if I didn’t want the cigarettes to stop.
“So you’re going to community college?” I asked.
“For automotive repair.” he told me, saying how he believed it impossible to get anywhere in this life without a degree.
“It is a strange world.” I said.
He asked me what I liked to do for fun.
I told him I liked to write.
He seemed not to hear me.
I told him again.
He seemed still not to hear me.
And then he changed the subject.
Musette and Saphire were dancing with Chef Geofrey and Chef Geofrey’s boss. It felt surreal watching her be this work person. She was trying to make a good impression. I couldn’t help but do the same. Chef Geofrey exuded a celebrity magnetism. He introduced himself to me. I introduced myself as Musette’s fiance. That’s what I was in this world.
I had a whiskey and ginger ale in my hand. I was getting pretty drunk. People were starting to leave. Most of Musette’s friends had already left. The last dj was on the stage. The party was supposed to go until two, but it actually ended around twelve.
Saphire had a car. We had stashed Musette’s purse in it. She had had as much to drink as me. I told Musette that we would absolutely not get a ride home with her. Hank told us that she was a really good drunk driver. Walking home seemed like a horrible prospect. My world was swaying. And Hank had those American Spirits, my favorite brand.
We got in the car. Saphire and Hank forgot their credit card. We had to drive back and get it. The whole ride Hank and I kept making jokes, being obnoxious, even though I knew it was a bad idea, being that Saphire was probably having a hard enough time driving.
When we got to our apartment, Hank gave me a cigarette. Musette went upstairs and took Charleston out to the bathroom. Hank also had to go to the bathroom.
“I know a good area.” I said, leading him up the road from my apartment. He tried peeing in the street but got stage fright. So he ended up peeing in the doorway of Musette’s chiropractor.
He was ashamed.
“Don’t worry about it.” I said. “Dogs do it all the time.”
I promised that Musette and I would attend his and Saphire’s wedding and he got in his car with fond farewells.
I went upstairs. Musette was already in bed and the lights were off. I tried lying next to her, but couldn’t. It made me intolerably sick. I went to the bathroom, thinking I might throw up, but took a bath instead.
When I came out I was ready to pass out. I lie in bed, only waking once by Musette shaking me, telling me to be considerate: I had the hiccups and was hiccuping right into her ear.
“I’m sorry…” I said, rolling over to the other side of the bed, and falling back deeply into sleep.
The next morning I had a hangover. Musette was getting ready for work.
“Was I talking in my sleep?” I asked.
“I don’t think so.” She replied.
“I must have dreamed it.” I said.
And then I fell back asleep, hoping that by the next time I woke up my ibuprofen would be in effect.
The petal peddler came to town today; he asked to meet the clergy. He had once sold rose stems, and sunflower blooms, and flowers long since dried—sun soaked to grant escape from the decay that is life, that is time, that lingers with us forever.
The petal peddler asked to see our shore, he asked to set up shop, but the clergy told the mayor, who told the clerks, who told the builders to refuse his money and gold and force of will, and have him look out into the crystal water, but not to keep it for himself. The petal peddler went his less than merry way, finding his feet against the rocks and sand of our illustrious coast—flooded with pounding waves, that for a moment in time gave the beach blossoms, and gritty white petals, before withering in an instant.
The petal peddler stared into the great expanse of the sea, as the sun itself knelt before the night, and water pressed down against the peddler’s cheeks, until he too fell onto the sand and along the rocks. A cross, and a jar of petals, were in the petal peddler’s hands, and he laid them to rest against the shore. He stayed in that spot, till he too dried and ebbed into nothing, leaving only his petals, his cross, and a charred child’s toy.
The clergy met, and planted two stones where the petal peddler had watched the sun set—flowers would bloom their in the Spring, as children would come to play amongst the petals, the shore, and the sand.
And the petal peddler would stand their in the Spring, happy to be reunited with his child— watching the children play amongst the blooms, his immortal family.
Wednesday, early March. My twelve-year-old son has the day off from school. It’s his older brother’s birthday and I need to bake a cake. Hudson and I decide to walk to the Lookout Mountain Market to get a mix and frosting. We take Boji, our yellow lab, along.
It’s the first sunny day in a week, warm, the kind of soft-focus, liquid air that makes me feel half-time and drowsy. Blots of color in yards along Lula Lake: purple crocus, yellow forsythia, green onion grass. Hudson yanks up a cluster and chucks it across the street, then smells his fingers. Will that grass make actual onions? he asks.
We walk a block and cross from Georgia into Tennessee, alongside the rock wall with built-in mailboxes in front of each house. Past the Civil War trenches—hospital, not battle—at the four-way stop where Lula Lake road becomes Scenic Highway. We wind along past the trailhead that leads, Hudson says, “to a sick cave.” I had no idea he’d been there, though it doesn’t surprise me: mountain kids grow up roaming free, climbing boulders, swimming in creeks. We reach the small ravine across from Watauga road and cross the metal replica of the Market Street bridge—this smaller version painted black, not blue like the full-size bridge in downtown Chattanooga.
I wave to Ruth on the patio of the Café on the Corner. She’s the owner and chef, keeps my favorite Cabernet in stock for half-price wine night. I spot Gwen—the “mountain tracker” social columnist—exiting the post office. My friend Melanie speed-walks past us, waves.
Everyone we see is white. I wish I could say this grim reality is still something I notice daily, as it was when we first moved here. The shameful truth: I rarely think about it anymore. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee—there’s a reason Martin Luther King singled out our town in his famous speech.
We reach the market and I sit outside with Boji while Hudson goes in to buy the mix and frosting and a snack for himself. A woman whose name I don’t know comes out of the market—I’ve been told she’s a “socialite.” She drives a convertible. Her young son is with her. They get into the car and a country song blares. I LOVE this song! she says, and high-fives her son, who’s drinking from a juice box. They sit there and listen, together.
On the way home Hudson kicks at the spiked seed pods lining the road. Boji sniffs at ivy, lifts his leg.
There he goes, I say. Reading his pee-mails, replying.
How much is Boji worth? Hudson asks.
He’s priceless to us, I say.
I mean his actual body, Hudson says.
I tell him how much we paid, when we bought Boji from the breeder. Hudson stops walking.
You bought him?
It hadn’t occurred to me that Hudson wouldn’t know this.
We bought him from his owner, I say.
You can’t own an animal, he says. You just take care of them, in your house.
I guess you’re right, in a sense, I say.
Like, humans can’t be owned, he says, and Boji’s pretty much human.
The dog sniffs, lifts, jogs ahead.
So how much is a human body worth, Hudson says.
And we’re off again.* * *
The next day, driving Hudson to school, we pass Howard High School, in the inner city. We’ve passed it all year, but today it’s a late start and there are students outside.
Is that a private school for black kids? Hudson asks.
Actually, it’s public, I say.
But racism is illegal, right, he says.
How do you explain to a twelve-year-old? I wish I could say, Yes, darling: racism is illegal.
Mandatory segregation is illegal, I say.
It’s the best I can do, for now.
We get on I-24 and take the Sugar’s Ribs exit at Missionary Ridge, where a herd of kudzu-eating goats grazes the hillside. Hudson’s school, private, sits at the base of the ridge, where in 1863 Arthur MacArthur—the famous General Douglas’s father—charged the hillside and took Chattanooga for the Union, General Grant watching from Orchard Knob nearby.
The sun is already high above the ridge. I say goodbye to Hudson and drive back up the mountain, the city growing hazy below. Birdsong, pillared homes, pear trees laced in white blossom—another gorgeous Southern day made, it seems, to lull us into forgetfulness.
[Originally published in Guernica’s special issue, The American South.]
Let’s say you stand beneath the garish yellow light and ask for something you have always wanted. Let’s say you hear the sound of your own voice asking. And you hear:
car alarm in the distance. Doors closing and then opening again.
That was the year of the fire. We stood in our nightgowns on the sidewalk and watched smoke billow from the roof, thick and black. No one knew who started it but later we learned about the woman who let the gas run from her stove for hours. And then,
and then what is one match lit in darkness?
What is a childhood?
A red brick building six stories high. The darkness of stairwells. Dreams of falling down them, endlessly falling.
A playground in the back, not shaded, exposed to hot sun. We could see tar paper hanging over the sides of the roof. So hot and so bright it looked like it was melting. Was it melting.
Metal framework of swing set. Metal slide. Hot beneath naked thighs. So often alone.
That we could not take care of our cat. Cat would be given away. She came and circled me, sat in my lap as if she knew what we were considering. I am a cat. How easy it would be to send me
back. Back to the night of the fire. Night of smoke and catch in the breath. Hot and cold at the same
time. That winter, snow so deep, we swam through it.
Beloved park across the street. Ancient trees. Duck pond. How far it stretched. We could walk the length of it. We walked for hours.
Let’s say you go back. You take someone with you. Someone you love, or want to. Press your face to the glass at the front door. Tiles in the entry way still the same as you remember. Yellow petals unfurling on a field of white.
What is a childhood?
Was not learning to ride my blue bicycle. White basket, woven plastic, pink ribbon tied to the handlebars. Left leaning against the wall in the dank basement.
Was my father’s height and how he stooped, bent over as if to examine something he had dropped on his shirt.
Lottery tickets extracted crumpled from his pockets and then staying up late enough to watch the late-night drawing, write the numbers down.
And then his closet empty.
And then Wednesday afternoons at the Wendy’s drive-through, burgers and fries wrapped in paper. Rosary hung from the rear-view mirror of his burgundy car.
Reading the dictionary on the floor in the hallway. Orphan: a child whose parents are dead. Orphanage: a place where orphans are looked after.
I was sick for days with fever. Cold cloths held to my skin. A bit of soup or crackers. Ginger soda and tepid tea.
What is a childhood? Soft rolls and crumb cake after church on Sundays.
And the shore, always the shore.
Walk to the boardwalk after dark. Electric light. Carousel and fortune
teller: Here is something you should know.
The windows of the haunted house glow orange. Flickering. Is there smoke pouring from the windows.
Let’s say you ask for things you know you cannot have. Electric train. Red wooden rocking chair. A doll with jet black hair and eyes.
What did he leave? A jar of buttons. A photograph of himself in uniform. He is smiling.
Buried it all under the branches of a broad tree by the duck pond. Drew arrows in the dirt with a stick so I could find my way back.
What is a childhood?
Wide trunk of oak tree and fallen bark. Acorn caps bruised the knees. A certain kind of wind that colored the sky, that darkened it.
Throw pebbles in the pond, watch the rings.
Then there was the time the earth was almost destroyed by a fruit-cake.
Well, to clarify, fruit-cake delivery.
The cake was a sort-of apology. Maxwell felt bad, but he couldn’t be bothered to spend more than a few dollars on it, and this website was offering a mad 90% discount and free delivery on top of that!
Anyway, he forgot about the whole thing for about 8-10 business days. At which point various global agencies began to notice gravitational distortions rapidly approaching. About the time the object was beginning to alter the orbits of some planetoids they put together a special news release to give to global news agencies. Which, of course, is when Maxwell heard about the whole thing.
Honestly, the whole thing was a mystery for a little while, until the first images came in.
Maxwell had to check his internet history, but, yep, there it was. Todays date as that of delivery, an image exactly like the one he’d ordered from, and a warning that this particular cake served 6-7 billion.
Maxwell began trying to contact customer service as a television anchor began a doomsday countdown on television.
“Yeah, hello, this is the Solarential Trading Company. How may I direct your call?”
“I would like to cancel an order.”
“Yeah, uh-huh, can you give me your order number and your name please?”
“My name is Maxwell Rein, and I don’t—I lost my order number.”
“yeahofcourseyoudid…Mr. Rein, do you know about when you placed your order?”
“uh, eight to ten business days ago…”
“Alright, Mr. Rein, the honest truth is that I’ve got… well, looks like ten million orders going out these last few days. Can you narrow that down for me at all?”
“It’s a fruitcake?”
Muffled laughter. “Uh-huh, yeah, I’ve only got one of those going out Mr. Rein, but it looks like it’s out for drop-off as we speak.”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m calling. It’s a little—” Maxwell looked out the window at the looming fruit be-decked object looming in the sky. “Well, it’s bigger than I imagined. I’d like to return it.”
“As far as we’re concerned, it’s already delivered, there isn’t anything I can do from here. If you’d like, I can give you our address and I’ll contact you again when we receive it on our end.”
“Is that all you can do? You can’t give me the number of the… driver, or anything?”
“I’m afraid that’s against policy Mr. Rein. I will happily set you up with a 20% discount on your next purchase though.”
“No, no thank you.” Maxwell hung up the phone and flopped onto the couch.
He stayed there for a few minutes before the doorbell rang.
Maxwell looked through the peephole at a squat green thing in a khaki uniform, and slowly swung the door open.
“You Maxwell Rein?”
It swung a clipboard and a pen at him with one scaled tentacle. “Need you to sign.”
“And if I don’t?”
“Then I deliver this Fruit-Cake right back to the factory it came from, ass-hole. You gonna sign or not?”
Maxwell slammed the door in the creature’s face.
It muttered, “some people,” under its breath as it wandered away.
I pick up my friend in the car. We drive to an estate sale together. An estate sale is an event. During an estate sale, you walk around a person’s house in order to look at or potentially buy a person’s possessions. You can buy books, furniture, lawn mowers, almost anything you might like to put in your own house. Usually an estate sale is held because someone has died so usually you purchase the possessions of a dead person at an estate sale. Sometimes greedy relatives gather up all of the good possessions before the estate sale and the estate sale is nothing but a pile of trash.
I drive my friend to the estate sale. It is about 30 minutes out of town so we talk about politics during the drive. We mostly agree on politics and my friend is a non-confrontational person so the drive is pleasant. When I meet non-confrontational people, I typically adopt their methods of conversation, but sometimes I attempt to provoke them because I get tired of how non-confrontational they are. But on the day of the estate sale, I am affable because it is a nice day and I read a book all morning.
When we arrive at the sale, there is a long line to get into the house because the sale has been well-publicized and there are many people who want to look at things belonging to dead people. While my friend and I are waiting in line, we talk about the kinds of treasures we wish we could find at the estate sale.
A woman in line ahead of us joins in our conversation. She says that she used to run estate sales because she knows a lot about antiques. She tells us some stories about estate sales, including one about a house that was filled with used toothpaste tubes. What a strange thing! What a mystery! Someone threw away all the toothpaste tubes, thinking they were worthless. Later, a distant relative arrived on the scene, declaring that the tubes had been filled with diamonds. Who would have thought! I make a joke about being so rich that I brush my teeth with diamonds. No one laughs because the loss of so much money is a serious issue.
"Are you a boy or a girl?"
It popped out of the snaggle-toothed mouth to her left and somehow pulled all of the oxygen out of the air for a moment. Even at six years old she knew this is simply a question one does not ask.
She clutched the pink and purple purse in her lap and shifted uncomfortably, feeling her bare legs stick to the green vinyl of the seat below the edge of the purple skirt she wore.
"What grade are you in?" she finally asked him instead of answering.
"Kindergarten," he grinned proudly back at her, wiping at an already grubby nose. "So what are you, anyway?"
Why did that question make her feel so twisted inside? Could he not see her sitting there right in front of him? Wasn’t it obvious?
"I’m a girl, stupid," she frowned at him.
"Well, your hair looks like a boy’s," he shot back.
She unconsciously reached up and fingered the edges of the brand new pageboy that she had been so proud of until that horrid question. Her grandmother had assured her she looked pretty. Why had she lied?
She turned away from the frog on the seat next to her and stared out the window as the school bus bumped along.
Don’t let them see you cry, she reminded herself. It’s worse when they know they’ve gotten to you. All of her effort suddenly went into keeping the tears at bay as the hole in her heart got a little bigger.
Jen looked at the sagging peace lily in the back corner of her kitchen counter and sighed. Its leaves were yellowed at the tips, its stems were bent and drooping… What had she done wrong?
A twinge in her stomach told her exactly what was wrong: she had ignored it. Thrown a little water on it a few times, yes, but otherwise it had sat in the same spot since right after the funeral. It even still had that awful blue wrapping around the plastic pot and a faded pink bow dangling off the side.
She should deal with it. Pull it out, rip off all the dying leaves, re-pot it, put it where it can actually get some sun….but as she reached for the pitiful plant her hands started to shake.It was so much easier to leave it in the corner, this thing that reminded her of her best friend’s death. Becca’s mother had given it to her with good intentions. But all she could see every time she looked at it was that horrid coffin.
Why should twenty years of friendship be reduced to one awful image? Angrily, Jen jerked the plant toward her and began ripping off the plastic around the pot. It went unceremoniously onto her linoleum, along with the pitiful bow and a good portion of the dried out soil.
On a roll, she stormed out onto her balcony and grabbed the half bag of potting soil and a free terra cotta planter, rushing back in before she could change her mind. As she pulled the dying plant from its plastic prison and began to loosen the tangled roots, the tears she had held in for two weeks started to fall.
"Why did you have to leave me?" she whispered as she gently cradled the crumbling ball of dirt. After a moment, her sobs subsided, and she gently began the repotting process. By the time she was finished, the plant had a new home with plenty of room to grow, it had been trimmed back to the healthy shoots, and even had a little plant food on board.
As she put it in a new spot by the living room window, she thought about how Becca always liked the sun, and for the first time in a long while, Jen smiled.
Many young writers, like myself, use Tumblr to post original content and excerpts from novels in progress. When I’m not posting to Tumblr, I’m browsing Tumblr. A lot. Too much. I’m reading new stuff and following other writers and using tagged words to track posts with plotting and editing tips.
Novice writers with an intense hunger to improve their craft are as old as writing itself, only now that hunger can be sated at lightning speed. A Google search of the keywords “writing help app” reveals a daunting number of pages with a daunting number of mobile and desktop programs designed to clean-up, cut down, and spot-check your work. Among those programs (the second search result listed) is the Hemingway App.
If you peruse Tumblr or Paste Magazine or The New Yorker or Motherboard, chances are you already know what I’m talking about. The Hemingway App grades your writing based on readability and gives your work a rating of either “Good”, “Bad” or “Ok”.
To test it, I ran direct portions of famous works through the Hemingway App. I tried to stick to a comparable number of sentences for each piece, since the ratio of hard to read sentences in the total work can skew the results.
The first test sampled A Tale of Two Cities. The average American reads at the 10th grade level, so Mr. Dickens scored way low in “readability”. I wish someone would have told my Sophomore English teacher this book was grade 21. Would have saved us all a lot of time.
I posted an excerpt of Moby Dick next, and Melville only fared a bit better than Dickens. The third excerpt was from The Holy Bible, which got a great score despite all the “walketheths”. The last was from Hemingway himself, and no, he isn’t afforded any special treatment. A Movable Feast was rated “Bad.”
I could touch on (even without referencing the data above) the obvious pratfalls of the app’s algorithm, but I don’t need to because other people have already noted that submitting “The the the the the. The the the…” lends a high readability score according to Hemingway. I could touch on the fact that the app’s fatal flaw lies partly in it’s overly-simplistic definition of the term “readability”, but I don’t have to because the data above is a clear, illustrated representation of what I mean. (If your creative writing gets a “Bad” rating in the Hemingway App, that’s a good indication you’ve done something right.)
What I do want to touch on is a point I feel has been ignored—namely, that the Hemingway App and other short cuts like it can irrevocably cripple the voice of the developing writer, and their prevalence is a glaring sign that our priorities are drifting into way, way left field.
A modern writer’s success is dependent on visibility. We have to be concerned with not only producing good work, but work busy, distracted people will stop and read. It’s adapt or die. We’re forced to be relevant, succinct, and thought-provoking or we’re damned to reader-less oblivion.
We know that anything gripping we post has the opportunity to be commented on and re-blogged and read by our friends, family, peers, and heroes, so we compete for the most provocative headlines, eye-catching layouts, and stimulating pictures in the hopes of standing out against the unending rainstorm of content. We also know the same rush of attention can happen to any post that’s particularly error-ridden or grammatically challenged, so we (mostly out of anxiety) run our work through various apps, looking for the quickest, easiest solution. And every time we do we forfeit a little of our confidence and ease of mind.
There is no substitute for an artist’s intuition. An app and an algorithm do not an editor make, especially when it comes to creative writing. An app doesn’t have a gut to get feelings in. An app doesn’t have an eye for the innovative, the out-of-the-box. An app can’t help you discover your voice or develop your style. Digital Age literature for the Digital Age reader won’t be defined by an app. It’ll be defined by a person. The future is being paved even now, by you and me.
It’s tough, scary work—I know. But we’re nearly there. We don’t need apps, we only need to keep digging.