The Writer’s Life


  1. When I was younger, I believed that writing was my destiny, and accordingly spent much of my time writing, despite the fact that few people seemed interested in reading what I wrote.


  1. Now that I am older, I have accepted that writing is my hobby. Other than that, not much has changed.


  1. When I am writing poorly, nothing else in the world seems good enough, either.


  1. When I am writing well, everything is just fine.



  1. At the café, a young woman is writing at a table not far from the table at which I am writing. A tote bag dangling from her chair is emblazoned with the logo of a prestigious literary magazine in which several pieces of my own writing have been published in the fifteen years or so since it was founded (over the same period of time, I should note, its editors have passed on the opportunity to publish several more). A document is open on the young woman’s computer screen – the lines of dialogue set off from the larger blocks of expository text betray its literary pretensions – and she looks at it, makes notes in a notebook on the table beside the computer, looks at it again, and then spends so long reviewing the notes she’s just made in her notebook, or perhaps considering what note to make next, that the screen goes dark. Absentmindedly, she lets a flip-flop fall off of her foot, then hooks it with her toes and pulls it back on before letting it fall once more. Finally, she puts down her pen, raises her eyes, discovers that her computer screen has gone dark, and clicks the mouse pad to illuminate it again. Now she gazes at the document that has just reappeared on the screen with a hand over her mouth, deletes a few words from it and types different words in their place using only the hand that is not covering her mouth, and then deletes those different words and sits contemplating the cursor blinking in the empty space they’ve left behind.


  1. I want to put one of my hands on her shoulder and say, “Spare yourself.” Knowing it wouldn’t do any good, I write this story instead.


Eli S. Evans has never won second place in the Vanity Fair Essay Contest. However, in the year 2004 (give or take) he published an essay entitled "Second Place in the Vanity Fair Essay Contest" as a result of which, the internet being what it is, many people have mistakenly concluded that he once won second place in the Vanity Fair Essay Contest. The strangest thing is that these people often persist in their belief that Eli once won second place in the Vanity Fair Essay Contest even after Eli has explained to them, in no uncertain terms, that he did not. Rather, that is the second strangest thing; the strangest thing is that, from time to time, Eli finds himself thinking: "Wait, maybe I did once win second place in the Vanity Fair Essay contest." But he did not. He is certain – he is almost certain – that he did not. 

Image: Starstruck Coffee, Second Life.

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