I'm pleased that my essay, "Worse than Abandonment," appears in the final print edition of Crab Orchard Review (Southern Illinois University), a double issue which includes a general issue with the works of the winners of several writing competitions*** and a special issue about fathers (that's where my essay appears). But I'm also sad that for financial reasons, this literary journal will no longer be available in print but only online (the state of Illinois just entered its third fiscal year without a budget, which affects just about everything). I was a youngish, assistant professor at SIU in the early days of Crab Orchard Review, and I've taken pleasure in watching this journal grow from its humble beginnings into one of the best and most respected in the nation. Kudos to SIU and the staff of Crab Orchard Review!
***UNO graduate student Kristine Langley Mahler is a past winner of a COR essay contest.
Here's the first paragraph of my essay: "'There are worse things than abandonment,' a friend once told you. The moment you heard this, you knew that she had succinctly articulated something essential. Soon, this phrase became your mantra. You turned to it for peace and perspective whenever you were troubled by how little time, money, and attention your son’s father provided him. Sometimes, you’d repeat the mantra silently, sometimes under your breath, sometimes out loud, and sometimes you heard it being whispered to you in a voice that wasn’t yours. Sometimes, the syllables were so fast and clipped that they shot past as if they were greased. Other times, each syllable was drawn out, with sustained intervals between them, prolonging each iteration long enough for you to weed your entire garden. But you withheld judgment and took your mantra as it came to you, watched the syllables spin, slide, shift, throb, leap, or drift; settle, rouse, and settle again. Worse . . . than . . . a . . . ban . . . don . . . ment. . . ."