Merry Wanderer of the Night + Winner

Awesome Essays: ...Yielding to the Glory of the Gnarled...

Paper Darts prompted writers to write a memoir in three sentences or less for a flash nonfiction contest. While the title says memoir, I think a lot of these are little essays. I'm only going to talk about the winner, Yielding to the Glory of the Gnarled... but I encourage to read more of the submissions! They are only three sentences long so I know you can read a few. If you read others let me know about your favorite.

When I was a child, they diagnosed the fire in my joints and encouraged me to fear every step I took, every action I made. As I grew older, I challenged the limits they put on me by running through the fire — as far as I could go — and yielding to the glory of the gnarled, twisted, burning healing process that followed... Today, I limp with exuberance... the confident gait of victorious warrior, destined to run forever. --Kim Opitz

I really love this and I can see why it won. The language is so poetic and it almost reads more like a prose poem than an essay. Poetry and essay are melding a lot right now, I've seen essays in the form of poems all over the place. I'm very excited about this phenomenon because it's really pushing the idea of what an essay is. These three sentences tell a story so succinctly, which is something I doubt most people think of when they hear the word essay. My impression is that most people think of long drawn out arguments.

You can tell that in Yielding to the Glory of the Gnarled each word, each punctuation mark, was chosen very carefully. I love how "gnarled, twisted, burning healing process that followed..." fades, leaving you to imagine what the healing process felt like. The sentences move through time easily, "When I was a child," "As I grew older," "Today."

What do you like about this piece? I would love it if some of you tried to write your own three sentence memoirs and shared them with me in the comments!

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Awesome Essays: ...Yielding to the Glory of the Gnarled... + Winner