I have very fond memories of the writing program at the University of Pittsburgh. The university accepted most of the credits from an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts that I got from Boyce Campus of the Community College of Allegheny County way back in the early 70s. I entered Pitt around 1999 as a 50-something-year-old second-semester sophomore. I started out as a part-time student. I was working as a grill man at Wendy’s downtown.
Once my 18, 19 and 20-year-old classmates saw that I still had my wits about me, I was accepted as just another (although much older) student. Actually, it was hip to be older. A lot of my classmates went out of their way to chat me up. Being older (a lot older) made me interesting. And being a Vietnam War veteran added to my otherness, if you catch my drift. I was different.
I got my BA in fiction writing in 2003. By this time I had long quit Wendy’s and was happy to be a full-time student. I lived off of grants and school loans. In that same year I was accepted in the graduate writing program at Pitt. You had to submit 50 typed pages of fiction, double-spaced on one side with your application to the graduate writing program. I submitted 50 pages of flash fiction stories. The stories not only got me accepted in the program, but the stories also won me a K. LeRoy Iris Fellowship that not only paid for three years of graduate school, but also gave me a monthly stipend of around $950 a month for three years. I had to sign a contract. The contract stipulated that during my second and third years I would teach one class of undergraduate composition or story writing.
This all sounds like bragging, but that’s how it happened. And one of my fondest memories of graduate school at Pitt is all the drinking I did with my classmates. There are a lot of bars in Oakland around campus.
Ah, such fond memories.
I do have one terrible memory. I remember getting ready for school one day. I must not have turned on the television or the radio. I remember walking to campus and thinking that it was odd students seemed to be leaving the campus area.
By the time I got to campus, someone must have told me what had happened. I do remember entering an empty Cathedral of Learning (maybe ten students were in the Commons) and taking the elevator up to the eighth floor. That’s were my first class was supposed to be. The eighth floor was empty. I sat on a bench in the hallway for a long time and listened to the silence.
Finally, I got up and went to a bar near campus. People, mainly students, stood five deep at the bar. We all drank and stared at the televisions around the bar. It was September 11, 2001.
It’s one of the worst memories of my life.
Hello hello hello, all my brother and sister readers and writers of erotic flash fiction! In an earlier post I announced that on Friday I will publish an erotic flash fiction story of domination and submission by Donya Petrock. I’ve been promoting her story all week; but I never told you the title of the story.
“A Blowjob & A Promise”
You don’t want to miss it. The story is sure to leave you with some good memories of your own.
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This is the Old Soldier reporting for the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction, a different kind of online magazine for adults.