K is for Katherine Anne Porter

“Miss McDonald!”

Heather Ross Miller inspired terror and love in her students.  Who better to teach Southern Women Fiction Writers than the woman who reminded us all that Appalachia is pronounced, “I’m gonna throw an apple-at-cha!”  followed by her permanent squint and grin?

I sat up quickly.  I couldn’t remember if I had done the reading.  That happened a lot in those days.  She stared me down. She knew.  She paused and then asked me a question.

“Do you know why the government won’t legalize marijuana?”  My friends snickered behind me.

“No, ma’am.”  My voice was weak, tinny.  She smiled one of those Cheshire cat grins.

“Everyone would be too happy to pay their taxes!” She cackled, turned to someone else, and the discussion resumed.  I sunk into my chair.  After class, I tried to sneak out of the room.  Again, I heard, “Miss McDonald!”  Continue reading