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Responses to Naomi Rose's Challenge to Write Long(er) Sentences
Challenge to Write Long Entries : Response by Debbie Esslinger

Challenge to Write Long: Response by Debbie Esslinger

Hazel Green, Alabama / USA

Naomi Rose comments: This is really excellent. Not only does it start from a very rich metaphor and then go where it goes in long sentences, but it has long thoughts. You can tell it is being realized as it is being written, which a lengthy breath and creativity really require.
Writer's process notes: Thanks for this challenge! I admit, I got carried away: five paragraphs of one sentence each. They may make sense to only me, but the effort certainly came from within... Writing the sentences made me feel entirely different (especially from when writing academically), both in having started with sentence one (the essence of a short novel on which I am working), to end up with what has been irritating me for the last year! I don't know if I would have gone from paragraph one to paragraph five if I hadn't let the sentences take command. I did edit quite a bit from just the ramblings, so it was truly a writing exercise, not just a "putting thoughts on paper" one. So, again: Thanks!

As a bright, open-minded, open-hearted woman of the Deep South, I've long accepted that mine may always prove to be blackberry dreams: Those wonderful plans, rising from the pits of personal chaos, that create multitudes of dainty, faintly fragrant blooms tempered by that final bitter-cold cold-snap that turns on a dime into the unrelenting months of blistering heat, which may, in fact, provide a bumper crop of the biggest, plumpest fruit, but more often as not, no matter how black the berry or sweet the juice, leave those damn seeds between my teeth for days that make me wonder more than once, "Was it really worth it?"

"Will it really be worth it?" I wonder as I interview one more woman concerning her thoughts on creativity, her own creativity, and the level of creative confidence she has, or wants to have... or merely wishes she has, as some of the women seem to want more creativity and the confidence that comes with that creativity, but that somehow just don't understand that they may have to make a move toward their own creation of self and who they want to become.

Too many times in the course of the dissertation process, I have understood all too clearly that this is simply a trial of perseverance, albeit that at one time I thought that society, and the individual people that make up society, had put academics and scholars in their ivory towers out of respect, and from maybe just a tad bit of intimidation, but it didn't take me too long into the process to understand I was wrong: It's the scholars and the academics that have placed themselves in those towers, and too many, once there, try so very hard to dissuade all those that want to join them on their self-erected pedestals.

And then I, realizing the truth, must look at why I want to join them. Whereas, at one time, I thought it would be proving to myself, and to others, that I was smart enough to get my PhD, I think that now it is more a point of not letting people down: Not people, you understand, who have supported me and encouraged me in my endeavor, because quite frankly there's very, very few of them, but people — these women I was talking about — that need to see that someone like me, and someone like them, can do something that simply requires making up ones mind to do it.

So, I too, need to jump down quick from whatever tower in which I thought I might reside (although I most definitely would have built mine of both ebony and ivory, being that bright, open-minded, open-hearted woman from the Deep South that I am) and realize that instead of finishing my PhD for my sake, that the actual doing of my research and the completing of this degree may very well be worth it if it encourages and inspires any of these women — women just like me —- who don't know that they are capable of becoming more of who they want to be, but who may learn that if we allow a woman to grow in the confidence of her own creativity she is encouraged to become the one she is meant to be… and, even better, that if we nurture that woman to explore and expand her creativity, she becomes a masterpiece. •

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