A faint palpitation darts through me as I lift the richly colored cover of Orion magazine and turn its pages reverently. Names on the list of this issue’s contributors leap off page four: Sherman Alexie, Gretel Ehrlich, James Howard Kunstler— prominent authors of cultural and environmental philosophy who’s work I admire. I scan two pages of letters to the editor, noting what pushes the buttons of readers far more erudite than I. I turn one more page and there it is! My city. My state. My name!
I read the five paragraphs slowly and critically, wondering how they measure up, sharing the same hallowed paper as have the words of giants like Wendell Berry, Jane Goodall, Barry Lopez, W.S. Merwin, Bill McKibben—the list of contributors looks like the table of contents to an anthology of cutting-edge literary giants. Then I read the accompanying three submissions to The Places Where You Live department.
With a sigh of relief, I decide that my little 300 word essay stands solidly on its own. Whew!