Not a day goes by when I don’t receive a story pitch for this magazine. Sometimes, it’s from a municipal co-worker who has an idea for a story because a slew of residents are calling with repetitive questions that deserve a good explanation (or review)! Sometimes, it’s a business owner with a special anniversary or a resident with praise for an unsung hero.
But lately, we’ve had some people who wanted to tell the community their story, the way they see it. Last year, we got an email from Anirban Maiti, who told me about the essay his son wrote about his autistic sister. Mellon Middle School student Ahan Maiti’s essay ran in our April 2023 issue and it opened a lot of eyes to the world of autism from a child’s perspective.
This month, staff writer Carrie Moniot wrote about meeting the great Roberto Clemente. Her excitement is so palpable I had goosebumps reading it.
Done well, first-person writing can help us empathize, understand, enjoy and sympathize more than other types of writing. I am sure I am not alone in my opinion that we could use a lot more of such human characteristics right now.
We have decided to call these pieces “First Person Perfect,” a mash-up of the present perfect verb form (which can describe a point in the past with present implications) with first-person writing, which centers the author’s perspective in the story. We don’t have a particular schedule for them; we will publish them when it makes sense to or when it fits within the context of a particular magazine issue.
Here’s the part that involves you. If you have a talent with words and a story to tell, consider sharing it with us. What is your experience living in Mt. Lebanon? Have you met someone special who changed your life? Do you have a unique perspective on something? Remember one of our often quoted missions of Mt. Lebanon Magazine is: “Everyone who contributes positively to life in Mt. Lebanon will see their lives reflected in Mt. Lebanon Magazine.”
We have no specific size for First Person Perfect pieces. Remember Hemingway’s famous six-word story? It doesn’t have to be that short. But we are looking for the William Strunk Jr.-esque: “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” That’s what we want. Omit needless words!
To read the first-person voices of residents right now, check out our LeboLife blogs on lebomag.com. We post a new one every week. You’re likely to find something perfect for your present in there, too.