An arresting title for a personal essay, don’t you think? I attended a personal essay-writing workshop last week at MediaBistro headquarters at 494 Broadway (fourth-floor walk-up of course, just what I needed after a long day at Simi’s home office), and brought a 1200-word excerpt from The Young Widow’s Book … to “workshop” (you must pronounce this with requisite curled Rs and long Os). I gave this title to my excerpt, which details the hideous experience of purchasing a single bed to sleep on only five months after John and I were married. John’s deteriorating condition had forced us to accept the intrusion of a hospital bed into our bedroom, and we had to buy a single bed for me because the room simply could not fit the queen-sized ensemble we used to share, as well as the hospital bed, as well as John’s wheelchair.
Surprisingly the workshop featured a strong group of writers, some already freelancing and others not. I’m always amazed at how differently individuals will string words together. My essay seemed to pack a bit of a punch for my peers, and the teacher encouraged me to submit it – after some revision of course – to a couple of publications here that accept memoir-based articles. I figured it can’t hurt to try for a couple of bylines on US soil.
The group was evenly divided about my title – some felt it worked against the tone of the rest of the piece, while others thought it was just right. This jury of one remains undecided.