And yet here I am feeling genuinely happy to be nominated for the 2015 Biography Prize for student work at the University of Hawai`i. In the mix are several life writing focused M.A. theses, PhD dissertations, and course work.
Craig Howes, an English professor and the director of the Center for Biographical Research at the university nominated the IVF story I wrote a few semesters ago. It’s the same one I presented and discussed at the Medical Humanities conference in Iowa last April.
I intended to submit this story for publication, but that priority fell to the side as I geared up for my qualifying exams. This nomination (while unlikely that I’ll win) is just the motivation and reminder I need to fix up the story and submit it somewhere already.
My writing isn’t perfect, and at times I let this goal of perfection hold me back from working on my next story, or from trying to get anything I’ve written published. I read over the most recent draft of the IVF story and was reminded that while my writing could use some work, the story itself is there along with the narrative arc, scene development, and emotional impact.
I wrote this IVF story to cope with and process the experience, offer some insight to others going through fertility challenges (and medical professionals in this field), and show how fertility (while deeply personal) can also be political.
Writing is my outlet. Many stories I write are for my eyes only, but once in a while I feel compelled to share. When I do, I feel vulnerable and shy. Strangely enough, it’s usually about the craft, not the content. I need to get over this self-consciousness and just work through (and on) the ill-placed punctuations, clunky transitions, poor grammar, and awkward word choices.
I wish I could muster my writing confidence from within. Perhaps that’ll come later. For the time being this writing nomination (my first ever) is just the boost in confidence I need to get this story out and into potential publishers’ in-boxes.
For that reason, among others, I’m so very happy just to have been nominated.