I sent page proofs for It’s Not Going to Kill You, and Other Stories back to the University of Nebraska Press late last week. Everyone at the press has been amazing to work with and I feel so lucky they like my work.
It was fun reading over stories I’d forgotten I’d revised in certain ways and thinking, well, that’s better than I remembered. One story in particular I struggled with for years, and only under the threat of publication, do I think I finally got the ending right. There’s that great moment in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” when the grandmother, fearing for her life, finally sees things clearly and shows some compassion. The misfit says later, “She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every moment of her life.” Sometimes I feel that way about writing: I could have been a much better writer if there had been someone threatening to read my crap every moment of my life.
Rereading through the story to find the Misfit’s exact quote I saw again that the grandmother’s cat was named Pitty Sing. Pitty Sing! What a freaking great name for a cat. I might have to get another one.