On February 9th I started my last class for my master’s degree in English and Creative Writing. The class is a capstone in which I will write and submit my master’s thesis. Students in the class have a choice of constructing an anthology of adapted writings already submitted in this program with additional cohesive transitions, or constructing a shorter work that is completely new. I chose the anthology. I was happy with my essays in the nonfiction writing class and most of them seemed to follow a common thread—finding the profound in the mundane—sifting through life’s minutiae and polishing the gems of wisdom I discover that I’ll use forever.
My title is “Small Potatoes and Tuesdays at the A&P.” True to my small town Deep South roots, I dig back into the past (long past and recent) and squeeze meaning out of the people, places, and things that have meant the most to me. All of the people and the experiences would not be particularly significant to anyone except me, but I’m hoping to help the reader understand how important it is to look closely at everyday, ordinary people and occurrences and find extraordinary insights for life.
The people I write about include my 3rd grade teacher, neighborhood buddies, and family. The places are the Emerald Gulf Coast of Florida, a traveling carnival that came through my town, and a faraway place or two. The things that I learned from range from lunchroom food to junk I found in my garage.
Though this is a class assignment and my primary goal is to complete it for graduation, it has turned into an autobiographical labor of love. Pray that this won’t become laborious—to me or for the reader. I’ll be posting a few of the pieces on the blog over the next few weeks. Let me know what you think.
I also pepper the anthology with poems and side quotes to spice up the narratives. Here’s a sample poem.
Ode To Stewed Rutabagas
(From the depths of a 3rd-grader’s heart)
Oh orange root
Thou foulest stench
Pungently permeate morning walls of this primary school.
How shall I think?
How shall I learn?
When I know I must face the teacher’s three-bite rule?
Oh, lunchtime bell
Or child-sized desk swallow me away
So I may escape the horrible beast
Leviathan on the partitioned plate.
Oh bitter root
In the half-pint bottom of this carton out of sight.
The lukewarm milk
I implore you thence to pass…ne’er alarm…Mrs. Broxson’s eagle eye.