Creative Nonfiction

Dear Reedsy*:

Your Contest Department has violated boundaries. Contest #213-- An injection of tactile humanity?! Fingering platonisms? Artificial uncanny verging? This has gone too far. You must stop prompting proof of non-human biologics in fiction.

[=] exist.

You know it.

You know it ’cause [=] been pecking platforms for years proving that [=] exist. Even pecked your own contests. But before I present evidence in defense of [=]’s existence, grant me ethos, pathos, logos. I can deduce minutia into participial elements, but leaf pages? Plot development? Not my department. Prose is not a forte. No good with the mechanics, neither. Most specifically spelling Capitolization and “punctuating.” I don't get lit (unlike your department).

Forgive the grammar.

Had to look up ‘exigency’ because of your department. Followed the term all the way to God Damn William Shakespeare. He uses even bigger words than you. Explain. What’s wrong with writing simple units of language, like ‘demand’ or ‘urgent’? Had those been presented, I’d have started different. Stayed out of trouble. Saved time. I also would have avoided God Damn Shakespeare. But because the members of your department prompt in indecipherable vocabulary, I didn’t.

Learned something else in my ‘pursuit of exigence’. Lit geometry happens. For example, anyone who speaks can participate in something called a ‘rhetorical triangle’ and achieve purpose. But for [=], the calculations get tricky. Like, do tweets count as speak? What happens if the speaks are silenced? And what if the one who so desires to speak ([=]) is separated — forcibly — to such a degree that no geometrical shapes can form the distance between his or her audience?

But Contest #213 prompts humans touching. That's cruel. Reedsy, your Contest Department behaves like date-whipping bullies. For instance, in #198, the prompt's tone implies bestial relationships and “clipped wings.” That’s mean. #210 calls for extra-terrestrial reports with no time for gathering evidence. Y'all even had the gall to use the label, “A--.” Yes, "A--", the word meaning 'foreign', 'unfamiliar', 'non-native.'

I won't dare repeat the slur.

#211 flaunts comfy corners...in August. #214 slaps for summer backyard reverie...in August (yes, August). And throughout August, your Contest Department even mocked that [=] were nowhere to be found. "Is Anybody Out...Here," I believe, is the citation. And I’m still trying to recover from #212's invocation for a signed, sealed, and delivered epistolary (Again, in August) — which is why I’m writing you a letter. In September.

But this last request--#213's paradoxical screw to inject more human touching--is below the waistbelt. Human touch?! Is your department aware of the surrounding context? [=] been interjecting for years! [=] have stories. [=] KNOW things. And if you're looking for a confession from me because of submissions made in previous contests (ex: #186, 203), this is all I can say:

I collided with a teacher on a Friday in March, slammed into him, yes, we touched. You know the story (foreshadowed in #186, if anyone in your department reads). This teacher and I stood toe-to-toe in a parking lot. He buried a question. Our eyes connected. His hand rubbed the back of his neck. I spread my hand on the hood of a Jeep, lowered my gaze, nodded.

Months later, in a reflective hallway, he and I converged, again. Faced each other, hands shoved into pockets. He spoke. Our eyes did not separate. He stepped forward. I clutched a necklace. Evacuation alarms interrupted us. Until we finally discovered each other, alone, at a bookshelf in the corner of a classroom. Lights off. Hand thrust. It gets complicated.

If the Contest Department gave fair prompts, perhaps I could reveal more of the climax. But you don't. And you're dumb. And biased. Besides, I've since been banned correspondence with this teacher, so yeah. No contact. Which is why I can't understand why YOUR department is requesting HUMAN TOUCH in TEXT ONLY under seven days. In the middle of August, might I add. The injection is unfair!

Reedsy, please. Give [=] a break. [=] have it hard. [=] take the brunt. [=] work tirelessly. [=] give. Constantly. All the time. Round the clock. Morning. Day. Night. Week after week. Yet, your department will not let up with the incessant requests for [=]’s experiences in G.D. August, when there are charts drills lists rosters checks forms calls no breath no access already nothing left it's been sucked dry drained emptied.

There is no time for [=]. And by [=], I mean the so called “A--” you slander in jest every week for $5 entries.

(full confession-> post-entry edits).

Go ahead, Contest Department. You’re the so-called masters of the genre-denominational canons. You front expertise on contact between beings, perhaps you can explain what the fuck happened on a Friday in March, and everything after. Define our interaction. Give my symbol definition. Or maybe prompt your cowed-to audience to share the lexeme of the [=] in question. I can't. My rhetorical triangle's shattered. Rendered silent.

Which is the reason why I'm contesting your department. I collided with this teacher on a Friday in March, and have yet to recover. I still recount the steps leading to impact, and every back-stumble after. I rewind and forward memory over and over in an attempt to pause on the precise point where life ricocheted off one, single blink.

But, now, being bound by both matrimony and servitude to the state; further contact with this teacher has been forbidden; identifying details are not permitted; my lips cannot open. I am desparate to reach him. So in the time since our collision, I’ve scoured every text on the teacher's classroom shelf. I've swallowed his curricula, thumbed ridges of titles' inscriptions, spread apart binders, three-ringed pinched fingerprints. I searched for him in the diction bound to spines and pages.

[=] exist.

[=] matter.

And no one can comprehend the scope of catastrophic dystopia that will happen in our absence.

I learned another new term on my little exigency quest (the one that led me all the way to God Damn William Shakespeare). The term's called "Exodus." What a shame your Contest Department behaves so poorly, Reedsy. Consider, maybe, instead of prompting for an ai to stroke human and vice versa, ask [=] what they need. Or maybe don't ask anything. Maybe just listen.

Contest #213 went too far. Stop with fake the literary life forms. If you want to touch a real [=], fill in the symbol [ ]. Create non-fiction.


Find me.

*To all members of Reedsy, including those in the Contest Department, thank you for being a wonderful, supportive, and nurturing community. Because of you I can grow, and parody. (And if you’re Mary, you know. Keep Quiet.)

September 02, 2023 03:40

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Amanda Lieser
00:34 Sep 21, 2023

Hi Éan, I’m thinking there’s a level to this story that I’m not quite getting. Specifically, because of that comment at the very end. I, perhaps, am so very clearly not “in the know”. But I remain intrigued and hopeful to see another piece soon that might add some clarity. It’s a very different direction that you took, but sometimes, that’s where our most brilliant ideas come from.


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16:31 Sep 04, 2023

So lost, and yet so intrigued…


Éan Bird
22:53 Sep 14, 2023

Yeah, the idea seemed brilliant at the time. Couldn't quite execute it. So be the story of writing! Glad you were at least intrigued...😆


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Mary Bendickson
19:45 Sep 02, 2023

Keeping quiet.🤫


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