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  • “I think I am more self-absorbed at thirty-four than twenty-three. Because if it’s interesting to me, I automatically imagine it’s interesting to you. I could spend a half hour telling you about my trip to the store, but that might not be as interesting to you as it is to me.” ~ David Foster Wallace

    We each of us have a governor in our heads that screens and filters what we’re about to say or write: “No, don’t say that, you’ll sound like an idiot!” or “Go ahead. A little saltier language than I would have liked, but acceptable.” Lately it seems to me as though my governor has gone on an extended holiday or perhaps been impeached. I’ve been neglecting to ask myself the writer’s fundamental question: “Is this interesting to anyone but me?”

    Once we hit the save button we go from being private individuals to public entertainers, whether we like to think of it in those terms or not. I suppose if I were skillful enough I could write about a trip to David Foster Wallace's store and make you care about it, but it would still require you to do some swimming upstream, something I’d rather not have you do. Nor is this meant to dismiss the mundane: a broken heel can have as large an impact on a person’s life as a tidal wave.

    As much as it might appear otherwise, this is not intended an exercise in navel gazing for me, but a rousing tribute to my fellow Cowbirds. You engage me in so many things, both large and small, and make them truly matter to me. It’s a bit intimidating because it sometimes seems so effortless on your parts, although I know full well that many of you put your heart, soul and a great deal of time into your pieces. Your problems and your triumphs – and how you cope with both – have become of genuine importance to me. The writers here just starting out on their journeys, searching for a voice and an antidote for insecurity, especially touch me. Take it from me, you’re farther along on your path than you think and you’ll be amazed by the places it has yet to take you.

    I would like to mention here the Cowbird writers who have rocked my world, but I’m afraid I would leave someone out and give offense. Besides, if I love you, you already know it and if I hadn’t had the chance to meet you yet, let’s get acquainted.

    Before going to bed tonight, each of you should reach out an invisible hand, pat your governors on the head and tell them, “A job well done!” And ask them if they’ve seen mine around anywhere.

    Image source: Jean-Michel Folon
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