After all the painful and unwelcome shots-in-the-arm this week, here are a few things that made me feel better about the world.

Ideal Bookshelves.  Want to see the Ideal Bookshelves of Jennifer Egan?  Junot Diaz?  Mary Karr?  David Sedaris?  Would you guess that out of the 16 books on the Sedaris shelf, 3 of them are by Tobias Wolff and not one of those is THIS BOY’S LIFE.

I just started reading a short story collection by Charles McLeod.  There are single paragraphs that, necessarily, take up 3 pages, and this morning I had to look up the word “nycticorax.”  I love it.  I’ve been so bored with much of my reading lately.  Ahem.  I’m not bored now.

In a few months, an anthology of new California prose will be republishing my essay “War College.”  Very exciting, yes!, but also surprising because “War College” was, technically, the most difficult piece I’ve ever tried.  At one point, my beta reader looked at a draft and said, “Hmmm, not your best work.”

The story was all about conversations that took place over a week in close quarters, liberals and conservatives, on topics like Guantanamo Bay, the use of torture, the ACLU, the outgoing President Bush and the new President Obama, religion.  But here was the kicker:  I was not allowed to use anyone’s name.  So I’m writing an essay full of dialogue but without characters?  What?!?!?!

After about 3 dozen rewrites…. yes, it was possible.  And now, the hardest piece I’ve ever written, published twice.


Tell me something good that’s going on in your world.

19 thoughts on “Lollipop

  1. Josephine

    i have a trip coming up that i’ve been looking forward to for what seems like my whole life.

    please tell me what that word i can’t spell without scrolling up to find it again means.

    1. Teri Post author

      1. That trip is going to be legendary. I just have that feeling ….

      2. Nycticorax is a genus of night herons. It derives from the Greek for “night raven” and refers to the largely nocturnal feeding habits of this group of birds, and the croaking crow-like call of the best known species, the Black-crowned Night Heron. These are medium-sized herons which often are migratory in the colder parts of their ranges.

    2. Averil Dean

      It’s a little sad how excited I am about this visit. I’ll probably be standing at the window when you drive up, and be halfway down the driveway before you turn off the car.

      I got notes back on my proposal for book two. It’s not that everything is rosy with my project or that I don’t have more work to do, but nothing about what my editor said made me want to put my head in a gas oven. So that’s a good week, all in all.

      Your son is adorable.

      1. Teri Post author

        It is not the least bit sad. I have a feeling we’ll all walk away (or be peeled away) from this weekend retreat with some serious enthusiasm for what we need to do in our writing. Oh, and the long chats to solve all the world’s problems, there will be that, of course, with lots of laughs.

      2. Josephine

        I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW BADLY I NEED THIS TRIP. (not even the all caps accurately match my i-got-to-get-the-hell-out-of-here-and-be-around-my-tribe urges.)

  2. LauraMaylene

    Congratulations on the anthology acceptance!! That is so wonderful, Teri!

    In my world: I finally submitted some stories and creative nonfiction pieces to journals and contests today. I haven’t submitted for real in months and months and months — so I feel great to be back on the horse again.

    1. Teri Post author

      Congrats to you, Laura! Back on the horse is a good place to be. It means you’re thinking forward, and this is, by far, the best time of year to submit stories and essays to journals. My fingers are crossed.

      And yes, the anthology acceptance reminds me that I need to keep thinking forward, too, even when I might not think a piece is not “perfect” enough. So many times I thought about ditching that piece and moving on.

  3. lisahgolden

    This post is full of delights. I hadn’t heard of My Ideal Bookshelf. And I LOVE the photo of your son and you. He is a treasure. AND I’m so excited about your republication of WAR COLLEGE. That is great news!

    This week has been cattywampus, but the good thing is that tomorrow is Friday. Thank goodness.

    1. Teri Post author

      The skeptic in me says the flip side of all this is coming, but I’m trying to keep that loud-mouth to a whisper.

  4. Jennine G.

    A friend working at a delaership gave us a ton of family discounts on new tires! Upgraded to better tires for cheaper tires’ price, have us 25% of tire cost, completed some labor free, and gave us the $100 front end alignment free. Oh and we had a coupon for buy three tires get one for $1. Driving an SUV, which has expensive tires, this is the best news I could get this week!

    Oh and do sit down and talk with your son. I am 33 and have just started really truly talking to my mom about her childhood. I’ve learned so much about my mom as a person and the other side of life that I’ve never experienced, but have no excuse to be ignorant of. My WIP is about the redemption of my relationship wih my mother and her childhood will play a prominent role. Maybe you’ll inspire your son? I’m willing to bet on it.

  5. Deb

    War College was brilliant, and I was blown away. You made all the dimensions seem effortless genius. Congratulations! Your son sounds pretty brilliant too.

    I’ll be reentering the work force after being away for years. Scary. I spent days pouring over job listings and coming up with reasons why each prospective employer wouldn’t hire me. I finally said enough, and identified where I want to be and how I’m going to get there. There’s no guarantee it will work, but I feel like I’m teetering on empowered – almost excited. For all my huff and puff, it’s not a place where I spend much time and it feels really good.

  6. jpon

    Congrats on all your good news this week. I had a pretty good week too, with two acceptances on Tuesday. And usually when I get a piece accepted I almost immediately get a rejection or two to kill the buzz. This time the writing gods let me slide.

  7. independentclause

    It’s been a bad week. However, last night I helped someone with her writing. She was quiet and working on a difficult project, and I don’t always know how quiet people take me. Ahem. But at the end she told me I had been super helpful and she wanted to work with me again.

    1. Teri Post author

      Is there anything better than being appreciated, or to help someone figure out what they’re trying to do?

      I’m not a “quiet people” either, Indy. Sometimes I like to imagine I can be, that I have it in me, but alas no.

  8. Pamela

    Something good: My dead PC was under warranty. Also, I hooked up my sleek, black, complicated-looking new printer all by myself.

    What a nice son you have.

  9. Downith

    This post cheered me up, Teri. I love the t-shirt Romo is wearing. It says alot.

    War College was brilliant – it deserves to be published again.

    Your son is wonderful and that’s a great shot of the two of you.

    Enjoy that weekend – so jealous!


Comments are closed.