2013 IPPY Gold Award Winner for “Memoir”

Dear Reader,

            This is my letter to you.  Thanks for reading and being interested in Bleeder: A Memoir.  Since I can remember, I’ve yearned to be a writer.  In fact, I never really imagined much else for myself other than writing.  And for the longest time, I wrote stories, poems, and essays that seemed to touch on Bleeder’s themes but yet failed to engage the content in the way this memoir allowed:  immediate, raw, and real.  So when I came round to the certainty that this, that Bleeder was the work I had to write, I blocked out any ideas of who might read it or what they may think of it after reading.  I just wrote.  But now, I must consider you—my reader.
            If you have hemophilia and/or suffer from HIV, I hope you might shed that sense of isolation such illnesses herald in and may gain from Bleeder a feeling of a shared struggle.  If you are a reader just coming to understand the plight of the hemophiliac or the duress of being HIV-positive, I hope you might not simply come to empathize with those of us living with these conditions, but see Bleeder as a human narrative of hope and survival.  Ultimately, I hope any reader might enjoy the work—its story, its characters, its writing—to the point where you might turn to a friend and say simply:  “Here’s a good, true story.  Read it.”  That is the greatest compliment any writer could receive.
            I thank you for your time, interest, and support.

Humbly yours,
Shelby Smoak

Original Music by Simple/Shelby Smoak: Letter to the World

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published by Michigan State University Press

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