On Iowa

I spent a week writing, instead of riding.

I came to Iowa City for the 30th Summer Writing Festival. Summer camp for grown-ups.

My father was born in Iowa City. My grandparents met here. I got to stay with family members I’d never met before.

The house where my grandparents used to live.

I never knew I was so Midwest.

The week-long workshop I attended was on Travel Writing, taught by Marc Neison. We had reading homework every night, 100 word pieces to write and share out loud. I had some really amazing bouts of anxiety. I cannot help but over-sharing, getting too personal. Listening to the group talk about my writing was stomach-churning. Can’t you just send me an email?

Here are a couple of my 100 word masterpieces:

100 Words – Breakfast

It sucks having a party at your own house because when you wake up there’s the mess. The frathouse-sticky floors and butts floating in plastic cups must be cleaned, immediately. But at least there are roommates to share the work, laugh when anyone breaks to dry heave, groan over the grossness of that one guy.

Afterwards, you all go to the diner for a grease bomb breakfast, everyone but Julie, that lazy bitch. She wouldn’t even get up, just sent her boyfriend downstairs to help. He can eat her eggs and bacon then, and giggle over last night’s half-remembered events.

100  Words – Exit Strategy

The easier thing would’ve been to break up with my fiancé before we got engaged. Every girl wants to marry a doctor, right? So, I delayed. We moved to Colorado. Introduced our families.  Bought a house. Only when I felt sufficiently trapped could I work out my exit strategy. On a Tuesday, while he worked a double shift at the hospital, I packed my car. Over the phone, I said, “I’m moving out. I’m leaving.” It helped that he wouldn’t let me take a tent, even though we had two. Driving through Wyoming, I thought, “I guess I’m poor now.”

Thanks for the inspiration!


I got to meet Michelle Cruz Gonzales at Prairie Lights Bookstore. Couldn’t resist buying her book, The Spitboy Rule


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