What Is

When I was in graduate school and teaching an intro creative writing course, I was walking down the library steps one afternoon and suddenly realized I knew almost nothing about writing. Why nouns and verbs, for instances? Why anything for that matter?

I stood there in the rain pondering the difficulty of creative work. I also guessed it would always be hard for me.

That, at least, decades later I now see, was one thing I was right about in my life. Since then, maybe I’ve gleaned one or two things: sometimes less is stronger, and sometimes you need to push and push, going for broke.

Here’s a poem from David Budbill’s lovely posthumous collection.

Say what you see.
Get it down right.

Accuracy is plenty.

What’s here
is good enough.


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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