How Badly Does this Offend You?

On the audio recording of my short story collection, I can be heard intoning, “Cain’t Do Nothing with Love, an award-winning short story collection written and read by Ellen Morris Prewitt.”

I did write the stories; I did read them. They are a short story collection, but they’re not an award-winning short story collection. That’s a misplaced modifier.

Cain’t Do Nothing with Love is a collection of short stories some of which have won awards (“Lucky Critters”); won well-established (and really nice paying!) contests (“Just Now”); and been nominated for awards (“Gift of the Elephant” for a Pushcart Prize).

I suppose everyone is well aware the collection hasn’t won any major awards (what award did Alice Munro just win?) or else I wouldn’t have self-published. So there’s not much risk of misleading people. Still, it bugs me that the recording is out there and being listened to over and over again. Correcting it, my sound engineer tells me, would be quite an undertaking.

So, in doing what I can, I put a disclaimer on the website in the Q&A section of the About page:

In the audio, the collection is sometimes identified as an “award-winning short story collection.” Is that true?

No. That’s a misplaced modifier. It’s actually a collection of short stories, a few of which have won contests or been nominated for awards. I am, however, open to any and all nominations for the collection. Please note: this is a self-published collection using the word “cain’t.” Awards should not tend toward pretentiousness.

I also included on the About page a link to Memphis Magazine’s “Five that Grabbed the Gold” A Kindle offering of five grand-prize winning stories, one of which was “Just Now.”

On, in describing the stories I’ve indicated “several have won regional or national contests.”

Finally, taking a totally different route, I’m submitting the collection to contests so that it might, indeed, win an award. This is not easy—you can imagine how few contests there are for (1) self-published (2) short story collections (3) recorded in audio. A friend also informed me of an audio contest for single stories, and I’m submitting to that as well.

So, in my constant search to find something good in everything that drives me crazy, if nothing else this error on the recording has prompted me to submit to some contests. And who knows—I might even win.

Remember: You Cain’t Do Nothing with Love

About these ads

About Ellen Morris Prewitt

My dog can run faster than any other dog at the dog park. My husband can make a pan of rocks taste good. I'm proud to live on the Mississippi River. I have a traditionally published book (Making Crosses: A Creative Connection to God (Paraclete Press)) and I'm trying to get my novels "publication-ready." For almost 7 years, I've written with a group of men and women who have a personal experience of homelessness. If you want to know more, check out blog's Constantly Changing Facts About Myself. If you want free stories, go to and listen. Thank you for getting this far.
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4 Responses to How Badly Does this Offend You?

  1. Luanne says:

    Hahahahahaha. I just read Container Deborah’s post about unrealistic body images, etc. This is an unrealistic writer image if I ever read one. Maybe your collection hasn’t won an award (yet), but look at how many you have won!!

  2. rdestefanis says:

    WAY too particular. I thought misplaced modifiers were a Southern tradition. I’m not offended in the least.

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