Our friend Diana Spechler (Skinny, Harper Perennial, 2011) recently won the Baltimore Review’s “How To” contest, a creative nonfiction contest whose winners are published in full online. Spechler’s piece, “How to Love a Telemarketer,” deals with a familiar but vivid portrait of teenage naivete:
On the days he doesn’t call, wither like a neglected plant. Stay silent, curled on the Salvation Army couch with your new friends. Take sullen bong hits. When he calls, feel watered back to life. On days when you know you’ll see him that night, smile so much, you’ll need Burt’s Bees lip balm, and pay people compliments that land in a unique way because you mean them. You mean them. You have enough love in your heart for all the world.
You are starting to gather intel: There was some muddying of things, a girl he loved fiercely who left him, a father who died while he watched, a dropping out of college in Oregon, a getaway to Colorado. He never sits down to tell you the whole story; he feeds you tiny pellets, plant snacks.
Practice telemarketer telepathy: Sit across from him on your bed and with as much force as you can muster, send the message I love you from your brain into his so he’ll boomerang it back to you. Remind yourself that telepathy takes time.”
Read a short bio of Spechler below, then head over to the Baltimore Review to read it in full!
Diana Spechler is the author of the novels Who by Fire and Skinny. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, GQ, Esquire, Glimmer Train Stories, The Paris Review Daily, Slate, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. A seven-time Moth StorySLAM winner, she has been featured on The Moth Radio Hour, The Moth podcast, and NPR. She teaches writing in New York City and for Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio. Learn more at www.dianaspechler.com.