Dispatches | September 23, 2009

Dear Fellow Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize ContestEditor Joe,

Every once in a while I pause in the midst of my contest organization duties to marvel at the prizes being awarded this year: $5,000 per genre. That is crazy money, enough to launch me into dreams of how I might spend it, were I eligible to win. From least to most frivolous, I could: make a dent in my student loans; buy a truly excellent handbag in which to tuck my passport as I embarked on a tour of Eastern Europe, beginning in Austria; get my cat a diamond studded collar and a sterling silver water dish and feed him only sushi-grade tuna for a year.

But none of these things seem quite fitting. I would have earned the money writing, and, as any sharp entrepreneur will tell you, it is essential to reinvest profits in your business in order to keep it vital. So, why not outfit a truly inspiring office space?
First of all, it would need a desk. Not all writers use desks. Vladimir Nabokov wrote in bed, and Philip Roth writes standing up. But a desk offers comfort while preventing accidental napping. Hemingway had a great one (second photo from the bottom, under the water buffalo head):

I particularly like the glass top, which lets you display postcards, photos, and various ephemera underneath it. Luckily, furniture designers love Hemingway’s aesthetic, so reproduction desks and similar styles can be found for around $2,000.
That leaves us with $3,000. What next, Joseph?

All best,

P.S. Anyone interested in taking a shot at that $5,000 should check out TMR’s contest page at: http://missourireview.com/contest/ .  All writers are welcomed: We are looking for the best talent we can find.