Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice


Today’s post comes from the Department of Better Late Than Never.

It turned out to be a pretty good day.

Despite the fact that it was yet another day of waking up to sub-zero temperatures, and that I could not get my act together in time to get a post out this morning, the day got off to a good start. Early this morning, I had one of those moments–A Moment, in fact. I was looking at a news story on the web and I had An Idea. Not a full-blown idea with a fully-realized story (stories don’t come to me quite that way), but something to put in the hopper, something for the Back Room. It was intriguing, and it’s got potential, and I shouldn’t even talk about it right now, because we know how fragile these things can be.

I had other good things happen today, too. One of them was getting to read a whole bunch of essays by middle school students, one of whom used the word that makes up the title of this post. I added the dashes; it just didn’t look right the other way: superdedupery. Yep, it needs the dashes. Amazingly, the young man’s teacher did not put a single mark on the page at super-de-dupery, though she marked other things on the page. Anyway, I’m appropriating it, and encouraging all of you to do the same.

Reading the essays gave me a certain appreciation for what agents go through when attacking the slush pile. Many of the essays had such a sameness to them, that you could read the first paragraph and just know where it was going and how it was going to get there. Others started out in a way that made me sit up and get excited, only to fizzle and leave me disappointed. Out of some forty essays, maybe four were really good. On the other hand, I suppose only about four or so were really bad. The good news is I did not end the day despairing for the future of the human race. Kids today do care about important things; it’s not just all video games and texting their friends.

Forgive my rambling; perhaps the cold is getting to me. Let’s heat things up a bit:

Have a Super-de-dupery weekend!

2 Responses

  1. The organization is sponsoring the essay contest. Winners get a scholarship to a summer camp.

    I actually wasn't supposed to be on the reading team, but one of our volunteers had to drop out due to illness in the family, and an intern who was coming in yesterday couldn't make it, so….

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