When I heard I had won the “Best Essay of the Year Award” from the American Independent Writers Group for my Potomac Review story, “The Bookcase,” my first reaction was gratitude that the Review had published my long, literary personal essay.
Venues for serious writing shrink by the day, even as we seem awash by more words by the minute. Newspapers and magazines continue to lose pages, while the quick and light writing of the Internet gains ground. We all need to support literary reviews, like the Potomac Review, which are ideally positioned to fill the gap. Good writing, filled with artful word choice, creative reporting and insight, has become a hard skill, so rare and highly specialized that only the “trained” know how to pull it off. But I see in my classes every day that the rising generation of readers is actually thirsty for the sort of writing that the Potomac Review celebrates. They tire of the Twitter and the text messaging. They want fuller characters, stories that speak to them on many levels; they want good prose.
Kudos to the Potomac Review for shouldering the cost of publishing “The Bookcase,” and for celebrating the literary life. Perhaps what we all need is a National Literary Review Month (how about May?), which draws attention to all of the great work these reviews publish and the increasing need for precisely what they’ve been doing all along: providing a venue for engaging, carefully crafted prose.
Mary Collins’ new book, American Idle: A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture (Capital Books), is coming out in September. For more details, visit www.capital-books.com <http://www.capital-books.com/> or www.marycollinswriter.net <http://www.marycollinswriter.net/> .