Categories
writing

Finally Full

Two years ago, after weeks — nae, months! — of work, I finished writing an essay, and I thought to myself, “This is my favorite thing I’ve ever written.”

So I started submitting it to various publications, hoping someone, somewhere, would like it, too. Would want to publish it. Would feel like my piece was a good fit for them.

Early on, the essay made it to the final round at a dream publication, but it ultimately didn’t make the cut.

For a while, I stopped submitting it anywhere. Then, I remembered how much I loved it and started sending it out again.

Last fall, after fifteen rejections, I got an email one night after teaching an evening class. There was this place. A literary journal. And they loved my essay about food that integrates bits of diary entries and snippets of letters. They wanted to publish it.

Guess what today is? Publication day.

It is with great excitement, then, that I shout, “Hey, guys, if you have a few minutes, maybe click over and read this thing! It’s been waiting for an audience for YEARS!”

Plus, maybe you need a feel-good moment. And while this essay might be about food, it’s actually a love story.

The full issue of Palaver can be read here, as a flipbook. My piece starts on page 89. 

Alternately, a .pdf of just my essay can be read here

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Categories
kids scatological talk writing

“Poop Across the Genders”

I just couldn’t get a good photo here of what I want to show you. What you need to know is that this is a page from one of Girl’s “fast word” books from the past school year (first grade), wherein she was to practice writing certain words of the week by placing them into context and creating her own sentences. For example, if a word of the week was milk, she had to write, “Kee-rist, do I hate the milk of all hooved beasts,” or something equally precocious, in her little book.

What you can’t so much see in this photo is that her third-to-last sentence makes me retract my previous assertion that mostly it’s the little boys who are scatalogical. I know, I know, so many of you tried to set me straight, but now I’m convinced that little girls love da poop, too, although they are more metaphorical about it.

“So what did she write on this faintly-chicken-scratched page?” you ask. You poor, blind sod; I can help.

For her beloved teacher, Mrs. Anderson, our Girl composed the sentence: “I like his sh!t.”

What’s even more troubling about this is that Mrs. Anderson then reviewed the page and quite specifically put a purple smiley face above the sentence in question. Could it be that Mrs. Anderson likes his sh!t, too?

I had no idea.

And who is he?

And what’s so special about his particular junk?
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Obviously, the sentiment in this sentence came about due to the acceptance of, even urging for, emerging writers to use creative spelling, and Girl, not so fond of the letter “r,” wrote sh!t instead of “shirt.”

But in my leetle head, I like to think of her uttering this sentence when she’s 14 and is scoping out her latest crush (he’s got sloppily-long brown hair and is playing air guitar at the end of the corridor) while leaning against her locker and gossiping with her best friends, LeeAnn and Trinity. They’ve just asked Girl why she has the hots for this guy–you know, Chess Club president Walter Schlinkman.

The Girl’s answer will be simple and succinct, drawing upon a memory from first grade:

“I like his sh!t.”

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