Flannery O’Connor changed my life. Her work located me. Sought me out from the top corner of a near empty shelf of a quickly-going-bankrupt mass-market bookstore. I read one story and knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life in any and all words and places and ideas I could generate. I have never regretted it, even if the writing life has brought unsubtle revelations about who I really am and how far away I may be always from the person I see myself as.
“It tastes healthy,” my friend benignly replied to my increasingly inquisitive gestures in the church potluck dining hall. The substance before us had the color of chocolate mousse; it had the consistency of chocolate mousse; it certainly felt like chocolate mousse on the tongue, but upon taking a mouthful, it immediately introduced itself with that telltale vegan, no sugar added, and nutrients aplenty sensation. It wagged its tongue at the sweet sultry flavor that chocolate offers—no sir, this stuff boasted dates, avocados, and coconut milk!
As I write this piece, in part, out of fondness for my pre-Internet childhood and an old love affair with a boxy and rabbit-eared television, I can see us. We are sitting rapt – my two little sisters cross-legged beside me, our faces iridescently lit by the FBI flashlights that spear the dark glaze of an eerie and abandoned field. I can see Mulder and Scully pushing the light forward, toward us as we lean into it, intersecting one another like the glowing crossbeams of their flashlights.
I always try to pick just the right moment to tell people. That moment is sometime between realizing that they are one of those who will need to know, and the point when they figure it out on their own. Although I frequently share intimate details of my life, in writing, and with my bank teller, or a new acquaintance, there is one thing that I hold back until the last minute.