March 26, 2012 by Alison Grisham
Almost two years, and now 85 columns ago, I began writing Serving The Burned Side Down. I didn’t set out to enlighten anyone or change the world, but I hope I’ve made you smile once or twice.
A few people have asked me about the title of the column, so I thought I’d take a minute to answer as I say goodbye to the Washington County Observer.
A few years ago, I decided I didn’t want to write in silence anymore. So I started to look for writing opportunities of any sort. The first one I came across was a contest at Nightbird Books, in Fayetteville. It was a six-words memoir contest, and two hours before the con- test deadline arrived, I flew in the door and submitted my entry.
If you’re not familiar with it, a six-word memoir is just as it sounds. It’s a description of life in 6 words. Legend has it that it began with Ernest Hemingway, who was once asked to write a story in just six words. His response was: “Baby shoes for sale: never worn.” Leave it to Hemingway. Just a few poignant words that manage to say so much.
And so began the phenomenon… other people started to take a crack at it… and a new genre of writing was born. So when Nightbird Books held its contest, I submitted my first 6 words of writing ever seen by anyone else. They were: “Always serving the burned side down.” I thought “always” was one word too many for the title of the column but, as titles go, it seemed fitting to use the simple phrase that got me started as a writer in the first place.
Having an opportunity to be published has been an incredible gift, and I am eternally grateful to The Observer for giving me a place to be heard. But I am even more grateful to all of you for taking the time to listen. Unlike a play, that offers applause, or even a conversation, that offers facial expressions, writing is a solitary endeavor with very little feedback. The kindness that all of you have shown me with your emails, letters and comments has been overwhelming and it has given me the confidence to keep writing, whether published or not.
I intend to keep writing the column on my blog at alisongrisham.com and with any luck, I’ll get to see a few of you there. I wish you all the best and truly appreciate the kindness you’ve shown to a girl who’s tried to tell the “crumby” truth about her big dreams and a life that’s often no better than a crappy sandwich.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your warmth and friendship at a time in my life when I truly needed both.