Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress: Midrash on Happiness

So, last week I asked which of three topics you’d all like to hear more about. This week, I respond to (some of the) popular demand. Several of you commented that you’d like to hear more about the fiction workshop I’ve enrolled in. And that’s the real focus of the piece.

But we’ll also tiptoe into discussing “writing for free” here. And that’s because when you click on the image to try to read the text within it (the image does become legible when I click on it), you’ll see a piece that I’ve basically “written for free.”

Allow me to backtrack.

A few days after an in-workshop exercise generated the first draft of the text that you see in the image’s center column, a new idea came to me.

I had on my hands (or so I thought) ideal material for what the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts describes as its “Triptych” feature (as a reader, I’d been captivated by one of the recent Triptych offerings). So after figuring out how to format the piece, I worked on it. And sent it in.

The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts responds quickly; within 12 hours, a rejection had arrived. It stung, even if the journal–a paying journal, incidentally–says that it accepts only one percent of the submissions that come its way. Which kind of gives new meaning to (not) being among “the one percent.”

But I really, really liked the way this triptych (“Midrash on Happiness”) turned out. I didn’t think the center text really worked so well by itself. I wanted to share it. But I couldn’t come up with very many ideas of other homes for it (paying or not). So I’m posting it here. For free. I hope that you enjoy it.

P.S. I do have more to say on “writing for free.” Just not sure when I’ll get around to saying it. Or where.

7 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress: Midrash on Happiness

  1. Marlena Maduro Baraf says:

    This is quite delicious Erika. The layers come together like a musical piece. It pulls on the personal (the reader’s own) and on past encounters with the form. Loved it.

    1. Yes! Delicious is the right word. Put a smile on my face (so many of the thoughts sounded so familiar, like how we want to be happy with our lot, but then we start iffing and butting and how when we say it when we’re young, we don’t always see how complicated it gets…).

  2. Suzanne says:

    This is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I really love this class also.

  3. Erika Dreifus says:

    You’ve both made me so glad that I *did* go ahead and post it. Thank you!

  4. Matt L. says:

    Nice! I enjoyed the piece and getting a sense of how it came to exist. The final paragraphs in the center column provide a glimpse of a new way of living and thinking about life. In the past, men, more than women I think, have been comfortable with that lifestyle choice.

    And the line in your post about not being in the one percent was clever — 99% of practicing writers can relate.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thanks, Matt!

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