I’m doing something a little different with this post. The following creative nonfiction essay was the first piece of work I submitted. I wrote the first draft in college at the University of Iowa, where I majored in English and studied under Jo Ann Beard. Jo Ann is one of my favorite nonfiction writers and the author of a fabulous novel. I highly recommend her acclaimed essay “The Fourth State of Matter” and her novel In Zanesville.
In early 2011, I saw a brief review of Jo Ann’s novel in Time Magazine. I dug up the hard-copy of my essay, and the beautiful and flattering critique she had attached to the version I submitted to her all those years ago.
My passion for writing was reignited that day.
I spent weeks editing the essay and waited nearly two years before I let it go out into the world.
The luck of the submission gods was on my side—I submitted this piece to four literary magazines, and after only two rejections it was accepted by Lunch Ticket, the literary journal from the MFA community at Antioch University Los Angeles. It was published late last year in their Winter/Spring 2014 issue. Thank you Lunch Ticket!
I had been off social media for a while when it was published and this blog didn’t yet exist.
Then in May of this year, Elliot Rodger, a twenty-two-year-old man, went on a shooting spree in Isla Vista, near the University of California Santa Barbara, killing six people before committing suicide, and the #YesAllWomen movement was born with a robust cry.
This piece represents two interconnected periods of my life: One almost thirty years ago, when I was sixteen, and another, a few years after that when I was in college.
I publish it here as my contribution to #YesAllWomen.