Sunday, November 18, 2012

Goodbye Twinkies, hello Boiler Journal

I was bummed when I heard that Hostess closed down camp.

It's an end of an era, not just for the overly fluffed Wonder bread and sickeningly sweet Twinkies, but for a time when kids ate sugary treats each evening and no one worried about childhood obesity or juvenile diabetes because, while those things happened, they didn't happen often and not usually to people you knew.

Back in the days when I could hit a fastball and sometimes even a curveball, when I hated to take baths and dreamed of one day meeting Johnny Bench (who, I knew, would be impressed by my batting stance), my favorite snack was a Ho Ho. I loved unwrapping them from their foil wrappers and how chocolate inevitably got on my hands, and I loved sticking my tongue in the swirls of white icing. I always felt slightly sick after eating one and even that I loved; in my childhood mind I equated sin with an upset stomach, and I though I didn't believe Ho Hos were sinful, I knew that sin tasted the way a Ho Ho tastes: Sweet and overpowering, with the lingering of chocolate crumbs against your teeth.

So goodbye Hostess. Goodbye Twinkies and Ho Hos, Ding Dongs and those little fruit pies I used to binge on before college exams. Goodbye Sno Balls and Cup Cakes and the spongy Wonder Bread that I once believed God used to make the communion host. The world will be a healthier place without you but oh, what a price to pay!

(If I had a Ho Ho here right now I'd bite down for emphasis but alas, I have only whole grain cereal and soy milk, which shows how far I've fallen from my childhood.)

But on the heels of that sad news, I also have good news: The Boiler Journal wants to print one of my creative nonfiction pieces.

This is a piece called "Communion" that I have, literally, been working on for years, mostly because I wasn't sure if the ending worked, which really means is that I was uncomfortable with the ending because I was uncomfortable admitting to the ending. Owning up your own past can be damned scary. Once you write it, once you say it out loud, you can never take it back. You have to carry it around with you. It becomes both your burden and your blessing.

I wrote and rewrote this piece for years until suddenly, a few weeks ago, I felt it was time. I don't know why. Maybe I was sick of it. Maybe I was in an especially strong mood. Maybe there's someone out there who needs to read it and universal telepathy triggered inside my head.

Ironically, I published a poem titled "Communion" years ago. I've always been intrigued by communion, eating the body and blood of Christ, that very sensual, very primal and fierce act, and how it is performed with such quiet ceremony, everything so clean and so very white, as if to wipe away all passion, all urges. No wonder it keeps sneaking through as a metaphor in my writing.

P.S. You can buy 1,000 communion wafers for $18.99 on Amazon. The outside package says, "For the Lord's supper service." Wild! Check it out here.

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