Is braided form a broken form? Perhaps. If so, perhaps it is the form that best represents a broken self and a broken world. But there is also something reparative about the braided essay. The way one dips into one section of research, looking for that one right word to express the personal brokenness. As you stitch an essay together, you stitch yourself into the world. The world, stitched by you, is made more whole. I think it’s incumbent upon us to make a case for what we believe. I also think it’s incumbent upon us to check our beliefs against a prismatic understanding of facts. Humility and curiosity come from the same place. “How does the world work?” and “Who am I?” are two sides of the same coin. The personal story asks the reader to hear you say, Isn’t this what it’s like to be human? The research-based story says, See how being human is like being everything else in the world? Strange and wondrous. Wild and mutable. The job of the creative nonfiction writer is to say, Here I am world, and here is the world, and out of this oxymoronic writing, we are here to make each other.
This was my first article that succeeded. I'd just had an SCP bomb, and was trying to find something I knew well so that I could write from the heart. I looked up from my then-desk and saw one of my mothers pink flamingos staring at me from outside. I thought "oh, that's make for a cool article" and wrote it. I got the assistance of MisterBibs, who will always have my eternal thanks for assisting me with my first SCP article. If it weren't for his guidance, I wouldn't be where I am today.
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The Philosophy and Literature Bad Writing Contest ran from 1995 to 1998. For an essay giving background on the contest , click here.
Acheson thus offered support for the re-imposition of French control over Vietnam but cautioned that the French should strive to gain the support of the people. It was a contradictory formula, as the vast majority of Vietnamese had no desire to live under French rule. Yet it allowed the Truman administration to rationalize its support for French imperialism as something other than imperialism. In deference to American sensibilities, the French made a symbolic gesture to “Vietnamese independence” by appointing former emperor Bao Dai as “head of state” in March 1949.