Excerpt from Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe
When my real mother dies, I go looking for another one. The Catholic Charities counselor’s word for this other mother I want after decades to find is biological. Illegitimate is another word for people who end up like me. It’s what I feel now, unlawful, unauthorized, unwarranted here in this office that smells like antiseptic and rubber gloves, hot teeth drilled down to bone.
The Catholic Charities counselor has questions.
They’re my questions, too.
What is the nature of your search? Why has it taken you so long?
Lori Jakiela is the author of the memoirs The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious (C&R Press) and Miss New York Has Everything (Hatchette), as well as the poetry collection Spot the Terrorist (Turning Point). Her limited-edition poetry chapbooks include The Regulars (Liquid Paper Press/winner of The Nerve Cowboy Chapbook competition); The Mill Hunk’s Daughter Meets the Queen of Sky (Finishing Line); and Red Eye (Pudding House). Her third memoir — Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe — is forthcoming from Atticus in 2015.
Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Quarterly, The Rumpus, Brevity, Superstition Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Fourth River and more. Her work has been widely anthologized in textbooks, most recently in Short Takes (Elizabeth Penfeld, editor); The Truth of the Matter (Dinty Moore, editor); Keep it Real (Lee Gutkind, editor); and Between Song and Story: Essays for the 21st Century (Sheryl St. Germain and Margaret Whitford, editors).
She has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize many times, is the recipient of a Golden Quill award for column writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, performed at Lollapalooza and won the first-ever Literary Death Match/Pittsburgh.
A former flight attendant and journalist, Jakiela now teaches writing. She received the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Faculty Award from The University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, where she is an associate professor of English in the undergraduate Writing Program. She also teaches in the graduate writing program at Chatham University and co-directs the summer writing festival at Chautauqua Institution.
She lives outside of Pittsburgh with her husband — author Dave Newman — and their family.
Sarah Einstein is the author of Mot: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press 2015), Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Sun, Ninth Letter, PANK and other journals. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is also the prose editor for Stirring: A Literary Collective and the special projects editor for Brevity Magazine. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.