Many years ago, I wrote a story about my father. Several friends suggested that I should show it to big-deal magazines and agents. I did, and collected a bunch of eloquent and impassioned rejection letters. An editor at Granta went on at gratifying length about how much he liked it before saying that he couldn’t publish it because he didn’t understand it. “Is this your real father, or a fictional character? It would be much clearer if you rewrote it to include a lot of scenes and dialogue.”
I then sent the piece to Alison True at the Chicago Reader. I wasn’t expecting much, since the piece bore essentially no resemblance to anything the Reader had ever published. Alison called me up a couple of days later and told me she wanted to print it.
I asked if she wanted to make any changes to make it more like a regular piece of journalism.
She said, “No.”
I asked if she understood it.
“I think so,” she said.
I asked if she thought it would be better if I rewrote it with a lot of scenes and dialogue.
She said, “I like it the way it is.”
So that was why it ran in the Chicago Reader, and why just about everything I’ve written since then has run there. In fact it would be fair to say that almost all the work on this site exists only because Alison encouraged, nagged, cajoled, begged, and bribed me to write it. I find myself speechless when I try to sum up my gratitude to her. So here’s all I can think of to do instead:
This site is for Alison True
But there are other people who also bear some unwitting responsibility for my work. I am grateful to: James Bellanca, Frank Blau, Augustus Boxbiter, Rick Bruck, Pat Clinton, Howard Cohen, David Cooper, Tori Doyle, David Eisler, Gina Fattore, Henry Fogel, Joanne Fox, Silvia Schneider Fox, Tanya Gesse, Marc Giordano, Mia Harlen, Devorah Heitner, Flora Johnson, Pam Johnson, Vernoy Johnson, Kitry Krause, Terry Lehmann, Michael Mann, Mary McFadden, Mike Miner, Denise Polacek, Heather Presnall, Jada Robitaille, Jeffry Sandlin, Becca Schreiner, P. Franz Seitz, Richard Skully, Jeanne Slattery, Cathleen Steinkamp, Gigi Steinmetz, Jane Thrall, Tom Trobaugh, Kathy Webster, Kelpie Wilson, Robin Scott Wilson, Farhang Zabeeh
Thanks to all of them, and let other people be warned that I may add to this list as the need arises.