I was lying in bed tonight trying to fall asleep and I remembered a TA I had my sophomore year at Iowa. He was the one that pointed out to me, and the rest of my undergrad creative writing class that The Foxhead was a “writers workshop bar” and George’s was where the English majors hung out. I remember thinking how odd that was the distinction even matter.
Matt was that TA’s name. He was probably only a few years older than I was. Everyone in the class had to write an original short story. Fiction. The day I had my personal conference with Matt to hear his feedback on my “fiction” story about a poor college girl…let’s call her Alicia, who got dumped by her loser boyfriend and couldn’t let go, may have been one of my most awkward human encounters. We sat on a bench on the front porch of the Dey house, where the cool fall breeze blowing and crunching the leaves were my only distraction from the utter embarrassment I felt while Matt attempted to analyze my character development. He had to know very well, if not by the absolute patheticness of the “story” then by my red face and avoidance of eye contact that I was the sucker in this pathetic prose.
Everyone in the class had to read each of the other students
stories. Mine was bad, but the bar for crappiest excuse for a short story because its really just a personal essay about the happiest/ saddest/ proudest moment of our uneventful first couple of decades, was set very high.
After being kept up past my bedtime with this memory I have realized three things. 1. Matt had a really shitty job. 2. Fiction is hard, and it takes talent and creativity that I do not have. 3. I understand why the distinction between George’s and the Foxhead is so important to the few who can do Fiction well.
"We are not put on this earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are always there for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.
-- Jeff Warner
"What I want to say to you is that sometimes life catches you by surprise and you feel unequipped to handle what it brings you, but every bit of life you've lived before that moment equips you to live through it. That's what I would give to you."
-Fanni Victoria Green-Lemons (talking to her daughter)
If there is any secret to this life I live, this is it: the sound of what cannot be seen sings within everything that can, there is nothing more to it than that.
"The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."