Thursday, January 13, 2011

“True Story” #8: The Cure for Cabin Fever

Winter greetings from “True Story!” hq. Here’s hoping you and yours have made it safely through Snow Jam 2011.

We’ve got the cure for all that pent-up cabin fever next Thursday, Jan. 20th, in the form of a trio of TS readers who’ve traveled from other stages, other towns and yes, even other states to tell us tales of truth stranger than fiction.

Come thaw out. The artifact-sharing and storytelling gets underway at 8:00 p. at Kavarna in Decatur.

More on our readers and excerpts of their work:

Sonya Huber

Sonya Huber is the author of two books of creative nonfiction, Opa Nobody (2008) and Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir (2010), and a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers: Using Your Life for Reflection, Connection, and Inspiration (2010). Her work has been published in literary journals and magazines including Fourth Genre, Sports Literate, Passages North, Hotel Amerika, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Washington Post Magazine. She teaches in the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at Ashland University.

An excerpt from Sonya’s work

This is the story of my torrid and twisted love affair with health insurance.

I had known its embrace. Each blissful fling unfolded with delicious expectation, wet with whispers of forevermore. I entered these brief affairs with pink hope and the best of intentions. New health insurance cards—coy valentines—always arrived in plain white envelopes. Each plastic card was like a hotel room key that unlocked its own universe of safety and security, each with its own rules. Savoring my good fortune, I browsed the provider listing and chose a fresh crew of doctors to peer into my orifices. The courting and flirting began with a bit of game playing, the waiting periods and the occasional denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. After new love’s rush of anticipation and insecurity, I made myself at home in each network, scattering the fragments of my medical history behind me like a trail of crushed candy hearts.

Take me. I’m yours. Hold me and never let me go.

Jason Mott

Jason Mott lives in Bolton, North Carolina. He received both his BFA & MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His poetry and fiction ranges from stories of southern family life to stories chronicling the secret lives of Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble. His poetry sometimes tells his own story and, other times, tells the stories of superheros and mythological figures. His work has appeared in various journals such as The Thomas Wolfe Review, The Kakalak Anthology of Carolina Poets, Measure and Chautauqua.

An Excerpt from Jason’s Work

(Written by The Joker)

Through your wall of chuckles–
through my wall of tears–
I heard you calling me. You
called to me and asked me

for more laughter—less pain in life—you hunted
for me the way Mars pined for Venus’s flower.
And, Padre, who am I, the Joker,
to refuse a laugh? Could Venus refuse?

Could Pandora say no
to that little black box
cooing gently in her lap
like a six-faced angel?

And what about Moses? Could he
not lead those folks from bondage?
(They asked him for it ya’know.)
But didn’t he come down from the mountain

full of good humor, colored hair, and poetry?

Randy Osborne

Randy Osborne is co-organizer of the local storytelling event MothUP Atlanta. He published the zine Big Pinch World, collaborated with Gianni Simone on the experimental memory book Made of This (, and is finishing a collection of true stories, for which his agent waits with growing impatience. His essays, news features and reviews have appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chicago Tribune, Riverfront Times (St. Louis), Creative Loafing (Atlanta), San Francisco Bay Guardian, Chicago Reader, The Progressive magazine, BioWorld Today,,, and

An Excerpt from Randy’s Work

On a summer afternoon in 1983, after she told everyone in the family she had quit smoking thanks to sheer will, hypnosis and acupuncture, my mother was arrested for shoplifting five packs of Salem cigarettes. She called me at the newspaper in tears. She knew the story hardly merited front-page treatment, probably wouldn’t even make the inside, but she also knew that I understood how the police and courts operate. She must have figured I could help get her off.

She had been framed, she said. Someone planted the cigarettes on her. She didn’t have a good reason why. When the manager detained her at the door, she argued. She refused to open her purse, but at last relented. “You better find what you’re looking for in here,” she said. He did.

My stepfather vowed to sue the damned store, and hired our town’s best criminal attorney, my friend Dan Cain. A week after they met to prepare the case, I visited Cain's office. Did she have a chance? Did he think she did it? “Those are two different questions,” Cain said, hands clasped behind his head, feet up on the desk. “What brand did she smoke, when smoked?”

I didn’t want to say, nor did I want to tell him about the crush my much-older mother suddenly had developed on him. He waited.

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