Dear Mom and Dad:
I want so very much to live.
Not just endure. Live. Not just eat and breathe. Live.
I want you, mother, to nurture me, and you, father, to teach me to play. I want you to love me just because I’m yours, for a little while at least.
I want siblings who are as different as life can be and yet we still, somehow, seem the same. I want to choose my friends, and my enemies. I want to strike back, to be dangerous when I must, and compassionate when I can.
I want to get along or not, as I choose. I want the right to be eccentric: to wear robes and wander in the desert; to ride a bicycle in the rain; to seek my own doom or fate. I want to talk back, to argue, to disagree. I want others to disagree with me.
I want my share of tragedy and the opportunity to make it right. I want to make my own mistakes.
I want to seduce and be seduced; to fall in love, laugh, break my heart, and suffer the heartbreak of others. I want to cry out, hurt, and grieve.
I don’t want to submit, to be a lesser part of something bigger than myself. There is nothing bigger than myself—the myself I want to become. I want to be important, not because others deem it so, but because I am.
I want to dance on the face of the universe and make the gods beg, even if, like Icarus, I fall, flaming, to the earth. It is my right to fail. It is also my right to succeed. If I am to be the cause of one soul’s happiness or the salvation of the race, let it be because I made myself so.
And when my life is complete, I want the world to celebrate with me in the knowledge that my life was full, and that my voice added harmony to the human choir.
I cannot do these things in a world that values homogeny over genius.
I cannot do these things if I am medicated, “educated,” and made to conform.
I want to be me.
I want to be free.
And I want a puppy.
—Your Unborn Child
I have been writing creatively since late 2007. Since then, I have been published by or accepted for publication forty-three times, including Writers’ Journal (both fiction and non-fiction); Rose & Thorn Journal; Vocabula Review (twice); Foliate Oak Review; Opium Magazine (twice); Timber Creek Review, and Skyline Review. Additionally, I was the runner-up in Writers’ Journal’s 2008 Fiction Contest, and I won the 2009 Arkansas College Media Conference award for fiction. I teach creative writing at the Delphian School here in central Oregon.
WHY WE CHOSE TO PUBLISH “An Open Letter from Your Unborn Child”
The title alone demands that one read the piece. My wife and I read it within hours of its submission, and we both gave it an immediate thumbs-up. First-person pieces with such a strong and compelling voice are rare. It contains some not-so-subtle messages, yet it doesn’t preach. And when you do it in under 400 words, it’s flash fiction at its very best.