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There was an undeniable sense of destiny as I slipped the envelope into the mailbox. Inside was a submission for a literary journal’s fiction contest. I’ve entered several contests and submitted to many journals over the past year, but for some reason, this one felt bigger. Why? Why was I so apprehensive?

The reason, I think, was the strange, tactile nature of this particular submission. Most journals take stories electronically, either through email or an online system. It’s rare to actually send a story in the mail anymore. But holdouts still exist.

For the first time, I held my words in my hands. And I felt something like stage fright (writer’s fright, if you will). For the first time, I really worried about the quality of my work. Holding the papers, stuffing the envelope, scratching out my old address on the reading fee check — the process felt more real than uploading documents and hitting send.

I swapped the addresses on the first envelope and had to run to the store to pick up a replacement. Then, I had to spend some time researching how many stamps it would take to pay the way from here to Ohio. I had my girlfriend seal the envelope for good luck.

Before I knew it, it had slipped out of from between my fingers into the belly of the blue steel box outside the post office. Physically touching it, for however brief a time, was profoundly different. I felt like a writer, releasing my creation into a big, scary world of criticism and rejection. Now, it has to fend for itself.

— 30 —

Jonny Eberle is a writer in Flagstaff, AZ who was born in that odd half-analog/half-digital generation that still can’t decide if it prefers .mp3 or vinyl. Send him a letter or shoot him a tweet at @jonnyeberle. Thanks for reading!

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