The Writer's Voice
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The Writer's Voice
Coffeehouse Essay Contest Winners

A Writer Toasts the New Millennium
by Kat Downing

I raised my glass.

"Here, with a new century of untold wonders about to ring in, I look not forward, but back. Know first that I could be no happier than with the company gathered here. That you my dearest friends and enemies are with me at this moment makes me wholly joyous. What lies ahead is unknown, yet this will be a memory savored and I revel in the warmth of it."

I gazed at the group to my right. "You have been my teachers, my company in good times and my solace in despair. You taught me by the richness of your example and, more than this, you made me love that of which you were made." They beamed at me.

I looked center. "You have been my students, my conscience, my voice in all things. To you I owe everything--everything I am and may yet become. You acted rashly at times, not always listening to what I asked of you. You are not to blame. I love you still." They kept their own counsel.

Turning left, I said, "You, my taunts, taught me most of all. Though often harsh in your teachings and unwelcome in your accusations, I gained strength from you. I thank even you, on this night, the beginning of a time when I will see you no more." They stared as they had always done.

The clock tolled the hour. I put my glass to my lips and drank first to my right and the rows of books lining my cabin wall, then center, where my own unpublished novels lay. Moving my head left, I emptied my glass to all the rejection slips I'd saved.

I slipped out of the tub, donned a robe, and went to my desk.

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