>The Good Patient and Coming Attractions

>First of all, let me just say that not all doctors make bad patients. I’d like to report that my husband has been an exemplary patient, both in the hospital and since we’ve been home. Post-operatively he’s had a little fever, but not high enough for alarm, and he’s following all the surgeon’s post-op instructions well. Which means, of course, that I’m the one lifting anything over ten pounds, and we’re crushing his pills in applesauce, and gradually transitioning from clear liquids to opaque liquids to a “soft mechanical” diet, which he will follow for 4-6 weeks. We really appreciate the phone calls and emails from well-wishers—thanks!

One of the nurses at Vanderbilt that we liked so much said, at one point, “It’s all about you.” Meaning the patient. I’m trying to remember that now that we’re home, which isn’t always easy, since I’m so spoiled. For example, I’m used to him bringing me coffee in bed every morning. Yes, he’s been doing that for many years. So this morning we reversed the practice… I even took out the garbage and brought in the paper. This is my first time to nurse him through recovery from surgery, and he’s had two opportunities to do the same for me, both in the past seven years. Yes, it’s about about him now.

So, we get home from Nashville 24 hours after his surgery is over, and thirty minutes later he’s on a conference call for work. Yes. Not that I’m not writing, in fact, I’ve got some more good news on that front, so on to Coming Attractions!

“Are These My People?” on Backstory tomorrow afternoon:

First of all, Nashville storyteller, author, playwright and radio host, River Jordan, is going to read part of my essay, “Are These My People?” on her show, “Backstory,” tomorrow afternoon, October 4, between 4 and 6 p.m. Central Time. Tune in to 98.9 WRFN-LPFM, “Radio Free Nashville,” or click here to see three ways to listen online, instructions for listening through your phone or on TV Cable Channel 10 throughout the Davidson County (Tennessee) area. River has a great show every Saturday, with literary and musical guests and the occasional shout out to fledgling writers like me. You can listen to some of her podcasts here. I’m currently reading her novel, The Messenger of Magnolia Street, which my friend, the author Joshilyn Jackson, blurbed, saying the book is “like A Wrinkle in Time for grown-ups.” River is an amazing storyteller. I hope some of ya’ll will tune in to her show tomorrow afternoon… and future Saturday afternoons!

“The Other Woman” in Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine in November:

Another of my essays, “The Other Woman,” will be published in this wonderful magazine, Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine, in November. It’s available online here and you can also subscribe to the print version at that link. I’m honored to be published by a magazine that recently published some of Beth Ann Fennelly’s poetry, “The Kudzu Chronicles,” which you can read here. (If you click on the link at the bottom of her bio, or just CLICK HERE , you can hear Beth Ann read from this poem, which is artfully illustrated in the video.) Beth Ann was in Memphis in May, reading from her new book, Unmentionables, which contains “The Kudzu Chronicles.” I’ll post again about the Fall and Winter Issue of Mom Writers when it comes out in a few weeks… just wanted to give everyone a heads up, and to encourage all my friends who are moms and writers, especially, to subscribe!

Another essay in skirt! Magazine in November:

Just as we got home from Nashville yesterday, I received an email from Nikki Hardin, the Publisher/Editor of skirt! Magazine, saying she’d like to use the essay I submitted for their November issue, but that she’d made a couple of changes (she is the editor, right?) to the essay, and that she’d like me to come up with a new title. Again, her prerogative as Editor. So, I sent her quite a few options for the title, but she penned one herself this time: “Super Sized Enlightenment.” It works. (The November issue is about food, pleasure, cravings, etc.)

So, hubby (recovering from surgery, remember?) and I went for a walk around the block (he’s used to running 20 + miles a week, but he’s starting with walking) yesterday afternoon, and as we were passing Fresh Slices, the deli/restaurant around the corner from our house, I noticed that the October issue of skirt! was out in their bright green magazine rack, so I picked one up. When we got home, I read every essay and yep, none of the titles appeared in the body of the writing. All the titles were short and catchy, like “Tending to What Matters,” by a part-time bar tender, and “Notes from Center Stage,” by a California writer who spent some time working in a music coffeehouse where “the women and their instruments … speak directly to our souls, reminding us of the power of each of our inner voices.”

I always find something that speaks right to me in skirt!’s essays, and this time it was Kim Lute, in her piece, “Citizen Mom,” about a young mother who recently deployed to Iraq. Like me, Kim is working on a memoir, so I was interested in her words about how her friend, the soldier-mom, inspired her own work:

She encouraged me to take risks in my writing, to offend as many as I needed to if it meant I was getting closer to the truth.

Getting closer to the truth. Yes, that’s what memoir-writing is about. And yes, it involves risk-taking.

Oh, and let me say how excited I was to read one of the reader letters in “dear skirt!” extolling the writing in the magazine:

“Your writers are fantastic. I am struck by everything I read—compelled to read past the first paragraph to the end of each article (which doesn’t usually happen with other mags). I appreciate clever, whimsical, true-to-life writing, but it is so rare. A constant “wow!” goes through my mind reading skirt! … so big thanks to you and all your wordsmiths.”

Wordsmiths. That’s what she called us… the writers for skirt! Magazine. This will be my third essay published by skirt! since last November, when the Memphis edition first came out. (skirt! is a national publication, with local editions in quite a few cities/states now.) Oh, and this month’s Memphis skirt! profiles Rebecca Skloot, who teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Memphis and runs the River City Writers Series. I enjoyed meeting Rebecca when she was a panelist at the Creative Nonfiction Conference in Oxford back in February/March. Congrats on being named one of the “Women to Watch” by skirt! this month, Rebecca!

Okay, that’s all for today. Remember to tune into Backstory tomorrow afternoon from 4-6 p.m. The essay River will be reading from, “Are These My People,” is based on my experience at the Neshoba County Fair back in July. If you miss the broadcast, you can read my blog post that inspired the essay, here. (Or, you might enjoy the blog photos while you listen to the essay on Backstory.) It’s a gorgeous day here in Memphis, so I’m walking away from the computer for a while.

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