women, the south. a little dark.
I got a win in one college writing contest. I earned fifty bucks from the Southern Literary Festival, for a story I wrote about a long haul trucker. I bought a sea green typewriter and a case of cheap beer with the prize money.
I didn't go to the awards ceremony in Mississippi. Instead, I drove 150 miles or so in a low-slung silver Honda with a girl named Bonnie—both of us still drunk from the night before—to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. We wanted to see the animatronic Johnny Cash. Turns out Johnny wasn't working at the time. He was eerily still and plastic under the fluorescent lights, hunched and collecting dust.
I sometimes wonder how my life might have been different if I had gone to claim my award at what was probably a sweet little luncheon in Biloxi. What if I had accepted that praise that I didn't think I deserved? What if I really thought I could write? What if I believed I could take care of myself, without a man?
My work now, as for many women and marginalized people, carries a certain urgency. I intend to reconstruct my voice after years of blight, sponsored by Squarespace.