Emerging Writer Prize Honorable Mention: Caroline Zarlengo Sposto


I write because it is the first thing I recall ever wanting to do.

It was a time when paperboys threw Sunday newspapers on to damp lawns from early morning bicycles and children skinned their knees on playgrounds and their mothers painted the
wounds with coral red Mercurochrome and no particular concern.

Before I was old enough to go to school and labor over the alphabet letters in a Big  Chief pad with an over-sized pencil, I sat at home making loopy shapes on old paper grocery bags with a crayon. Then I lined up my stuffed animals and read them my stories. They looked on with serious, plush faces and rapt, unblinking plastic eyes, giving no indication they were wise to the fact that I was improvising with the help of scrawled gibberish.

Once I was six, inches shy of four feet tall, barely forty pounds, and compelled to wear dresses to school, even on snow days, I learned the letters and how to attach phonetic sounds to them by rote.

Having to walk in this manner, before I could run, was a painstaking process for me, and not an easy one. I wanted to use all of those tools but did not know how, and for long months,
I felt consigned to the margins.
A lifetime later, and near the mid-­‐century mark, my own children are grown, and I am, at long last, able to stop doing work-­‐for-­‐hire corporate communications and instead write
from my heart.

My little shelf of small anthologies with my essays, poems and stories is growing. So is my list of urls.
I keep scrawling, keep improvising, keep sorting and parsing my thoughts – often not knowing what I think until I read my own words.

My little dog sits on the sofa beside me, wagging her tail, and looking at me with blinking eyes that give no indication she thinks her owner is anything less than a wit and a thinker.
I dream that perhaps one little verse or essay or tale might remain alive when I am gone.

I write because writing is the final thing I want to do.

For more about Caroline Zarlengo Sposto, visit her website.

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