On Iowa and why I can’t take narcotics

The summer we first moved in together, Mike and I traveled to Iowa for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. The University of Iowa houses the finest creative writing program in the country and for many years, I wanted to be accepted into their competitive coven which I was sure offered in its curricula free cookies. Who doesn’t love cookies?! You don’t? You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

I chose a short story class led by Famous Female Writer. During the week, we read short stories and analyzed them, dissecting their parts, highlighting what succeeded and how we could work that into our own writing. It was also during that week that I swallowed one of Mike’s percocets. That was beyond stupid. If there is a level of stupid higher than downing someone else’s medication, it will be featured in the next episode of America’s Most Smartest Model (I can’t type that without cringing).

I thought that being stoned would heighten my creativity and I would be transformed into a font of literary genius. Because that’s what happens when you’re high, right? You channel the great writers who have walked through the University of Iowa. You do not sound at all like someone who can’t complete a coherent sentence without dropping a Simpsons quote or craving unnatural food combinations like watermelon and ranch dressing.

So it began hitting me during our discussion of Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” and after a few minutes of feeling floaty, my mouth soured. I started sweating. I rose from my chair, fled down the hallway and had a few seconds before my face met the toilet opening.

After throwing up violently, I thought I was well enough to head back. I thought, “You’re young, Mona! Shake it off! They need to know how you feel about this story, the arc, the voice, the tone! Don’t keep them from your geeeeniuuuus!”

When I got to my seat, I had enough strength to mention how the clock in Faulkner’s story had stopped before I had to end my own witty observation and excuse myself once again and head to the ladies.

One of the women, now a well-known children’s author, walked in behind me and asked if I was okay. I spoke to her shoes which was all I could see under the stall. I couldn’t go back to class, so I told her Easy Spirits that I wasn’t feeling well and would meet them later at dinner.

I had cheated myself out of an afternoon soaking in briliant ideas about literary theory and the state of modern fiction. I was robbed! By my own doing! I robbed myself! MAN VERSUS MAN!

After sleeping off the day, I found my class at the restaurant. They asked me how I was and I said I was fine, I didn’t know what came over me, dainty little flower I was! What? Misuse of percocets? Why I never! I’m sure I just mixed white wine with red! Tee-hee!

What still embarrasses me now is that instead of dining with one of the greatest female writers today and feasting on her knowledge of fiction and publishing, we were treated to her own story of inconvenient vomiting. And everyone agreed that it is never a good time to vomit. You’re never standing in the hair care aisle at Target, thinking, “Hmm. It’s 3:30! Now’s a good time to rolf.” The class chimed in with how they had thrown up at parties, backseats of cars, into the laps of Japanese dignitaries. And I had nothing to add because they were all part of my own tale.

I’m sure someone must have left with a good story, even if it was mine.

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  1. Melinda Zook says:

    Percocet is a killer for me too. I have been prescribed it twice and after crazy throwing up I said, “I’ll just deal with the damn pain.”

    I think if you want to spark creativity next time…try a huge sundae instead!

  2. Mrs. Blogoway says:

    You’re tagged.

  3. Hilarious. And I’m kinda glad you “wasted” the experience so I don’t have to be quite so jealous of you. How’s that for nice?

  4. I’m enjoying your blog!

  5. Percocet does that to me, too. So do morphine and Tylox. Fun, ain’t it? I’ve had to list them as allergies on my medical charts.

  6. Butrfly Garden says:

    Some people I know would be amazed (what with all the drugs I HAVE done) that I’m too freaked out to take pain meds. I have a bottle of vicotin from getting my wisdom tooth out that expired two years ago. (I keep it around because my brother frequently asks me for them, but I’m scared to give him too many at once…and I don’t want to go through the hassle of asking a pharm to dispose of it, okay??? Nosy.)

    The strongest meds I’ll take is IB600 or Ty500 (I guess that has codeine, but still not a perc).

    I think you were just using the wrong drugs. There are plenty of enlightening highs. hehe.


  1. […] washed over which is always what happens. I frequently overestimate how hardcore I am like the time I took a percocet while I was at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and spent an afternoon feeling Trainspotting queasy. This is sad because Intervention is the only […]

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