An Ode to Esther Lee / by Genevieve Mills


Heine Brothers' coffee shop that's weirdly cold. Our narrator is drinking a cappuccino and kind of wishing she had either thought to bring a lactaid pill or ordered her drink with soy milk.

Yes I Know my New Year's Resolutions Aren't Going Well:

I have been writing more, and I have actually cooked a couple times, but considering this is only my second blog post of 2016. . . I'm not giving up though. Self-improvement is a marathon, not a sprint. That's an expression, right?

On the Importance of Supportive Friends When Writing:

First of all, I have big news. A story I wrote for class last year, and have been revising and submitting on and off ever since, was just accepted for publication. This is big because it's both my first time in print AND my first time being paid for a creative piece. I got the email about it Friday night and freaked out and texted my friends...which leads me to the inspiration for this blog post. 

I'm so lucky to have some truly supportive friends and family. My parents have been supportive since high school, helping me pick a college with a good English program, never once saying "maybe you should pick a different major", my dad asking me when I was going to write the next great American novel so I could support them and he could retire. Neither of them fully understand literary magazines, but both of them got excited with me when I told them the good news. 

My close friends aren't writers, but they're big readers, and they'll always read a story I send them in an email with no subject and the contents "thoughts??!!??". My friend Esther got herself the title spot in this post by reading my last blog post with no prompting, and was sweet enough to text me that she liked it and pointed out a typo. (Side note: Why have I lately been making so many homonym typos? I put "write" instead of "right") Esther has been reading my stories since high school. High school! Honestly if I was her I'd be tired of my constant need for feedback by now.  

Writing can be such a solitary past-time. There's this image of past writers hunched over typewriters in dark and lonely attics, or out by in the middle of the woods, alone to get in touch with their thoughts. And even now, if you're working freelance or remotely, you can easily go a whole day without seeing another human being. It can be a bit isolating.

Of course I can't speak for all writers, and people write for different reasons, but for me, one of the joys of writing is having people read what I've written. In creative writing classes, I loved doing workshop, because even having my classmates point out mistakes meant they were reading my work. So having such great, supportive friends who are always willing to read something for me is an important part of the whole process. It's also nice to have people to celebrate the small victories with.

Another reason Esther gets the title spot is that she recently gave me the most thoughtful (if late) Christmas gift ever. She took my first-ever published work, designed a print of it, and had it printed on snazzy canvas. It looks so cool on my wall and makes me smile each time I look at it. And it makes me grateful I have such amazing friends.