Prose is a supportive, inspiring community for emerging writers, and it has been good to me.
I'll confess that I laughed the first time I spotted the phrase "emerging writers" on a publication's submissions page: what a pleasant euphemism for us unpublished nobodies! I thought. That italicized thought reflects the view I once held of my writing, more closely than I care to admit. It's an aggressive form of self-deprecation, a defense mechanism of equal parts arrogance, shame, and denied vulnerability. If I say I am not a real writer and declare that I suck, the unexamined reasoning went, then rejection will hurt less. Writers face more than their share of rejection.
But not on Prose. We're all here to do what we do for the love of words, stories, poems. Prose is a place where we can read and be read - I know I'm not the only one here who never had a real audience until Prose. This is a place where one need not apologize for writing, where we can cast aside the self-deprecation and share our writing without fear of a condescending and skeptical "oh, how nice." Writing feels solitary, but in truth we're all packed into a very large boat, and Prose gives us the chance to paddle together awhile.
The company is good; some marvelous writers post here. I've read chapbooks by a couple of stellar young poets who have said Prose helped a lot as they started out. Connecting with them and other writers whose work I admire, with whom I can commiserate about rejections, and who have encouraged me made a world of difference to my writing. For the first time in my life, I kept at it. I've gotten better. The support of Prosers fortified me sufficiently to go out and get rejected - and eventually accepted... two stories and two poems now. I'm especially proud of the one I posted the link to last week: "River Walk, Upstate Town." I'm used to rereading old pieces and seeing the flaws, but when I read that one, it's actually still kinda pretty.
I'm still sending pieces out. I'm still getting rejected. I'm also still writing on Prose. If I haven't told you this recently, or if you're newish here, I really appreciate your reading my work. I'll try to read yours, too, as a good Proser should. It's a pleasure to emerge with you.