Inspired By Julie Showalter’s “The Turkey Stories”1
While I am gratified by email complimenting any aspect of the Heck Of A Guy site, whether or not I can legitimately claim credit for the element being applauded, I am especially happy to receive messages, such as the one following, that focus on Julie’s writing.2
I recently read “The Turkey Stories” by Julie Showalter in a short story class yesterday. It’s an outstanding piece of writing. I just have a photocopy which is looking tattered already, because I pulled it out to read it again on the train, then last night in bed, then again at breakfast.
Tonight when I got home from work, I googled her name to find more, and with the intention of finding a contact address or email, but I found your blog instead.
I was so saddened to see that Julie had passed away. When the story was handed out in class, I had no idea if she was popular or widely read, and I had it in my head that I would email her a quick thank you, to let her know how inspired and moved I was by her work, and how I pored over her story for ages, trying to deconstruct it to find the magic elements, so I could draw upon these same techniques in my own writing. She really had a gift.
Anyway, consider this a “thank you” by proxy. It’s now my intention to read the rest of her work via your blog site. Thank you so much for making it publicly available.
The return address on this message was to an Australian University. By my non-scientific polling, readers from Australia and New Zealand are disproportionately represented in the email I receive about Julie’s work. Even reading photocopies of her stories on the train seems a specialty of Australia. I guess that’s not especially significant but I do find it – well, noteworthy.
"The Turkey Stories" By Julie Showalter
“The Turkey Stories,” which won the Pushcart Prize, can be viewed online in manuscript form by clicking on The Turkey Stories or can be downloaded in a PDF version by right-clicking on the next link and choosing “Save Target As …” from the resulting menu: The Turkey Stories (Download)
An excerpt from “The Turkey Stories” was read by Julie Showalter on NPR’s This American Life as part of Poultry Slam (12.01.1995). This reading can be found on the NPR website at Julie Showalter, who grew up on a turkey farm, tells the story of the night 3,000 turkeys died. A MP3 recording of the same reading can be found at The Night 3,000 Turkeys Died (MP3)
- This is a Heck Of A Guy Confessional post. For the description and background of this format, see Meet The Confessionals. [↩]
- Julie Showalter was my fiercely intelligent, wickedly sexy, and much beloved wife with whom I had a outrageously wonderful 20 year marriage that ended with her death in late 1999 from cancer diagnosed the week of our wedding. She was also a prize-winning author. Many posts on this blog are about her, our unlikely romance, and our life together, and still others consist of her writings. Information can be found at Julie Showalter FAQ. [↩]