This week's spotlight is Jesaka Long, a freelance writer you can visit at jesakalong.com. She also appears to have hair, which is a fairly recent event given her woeful haircut story in Mug of Woe.
If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? If I could be any animal, I’d be a hairless cat. Perhaps you thought I’d relate more to a lion with its glorious mane? I love the thought of living life as a tiny diva—and never having to deal with hairballs.
So, we hear you collect rejection letters. What’s the best one you’ve ever gotten? Most of my rejection letters are form letters or a “no thanks” with a few lines about liking the piece, not the right time, send again type encouragement. I’d love something that says what the reader really thought, even if it’s a harsh “What were you thinking?” Well, that’s easier said than received. So, my favorite rejection letter was my first ever. Even though the editor declined the piece for her section, she actually read it. I knocked over my chair running to tell my partner that someone had read my writing.
What do you miss most about being a kid? My paternal grandparents (Mimi and Papa) raised me and many of my childhood summers in the Texas Plains were magical, filled with hamburgers on the grill and a backyard full of water logged kids gorging on homemade ice cream and watermelon, competing to see who could spit their seeds the farthest. I miss those carefree, lazy days when the biggest issues were calling Time & Temperature to see if it was warm enough to swim in our stock tank (no cows, just Papa’s innovative swimming pool) and fighting with my brother, cousins and friends over which TV shows we’d watch. I hated Little House on the Prairie so much I lied to a friend’s mother, claiming my grandmother wouldn’t let me watch it.
Besides writing and trying new hairstyles, what is another special talent of yours? I am a mad baker and maker of irresistible homemade ice cream. We’re talking fudge, cookies, banana bread, pecan pies and decadent ice cream like blueberry cheesecake and chocolate-peanut butter. It’s my grandmother’s fault; that little lady cursed me. First, Mimi told me to learn typing, and then she wanted to teach me how to cook. I refused her cooking lessons (I didn’t want to learn “women’s work”) only to discover in my late twenties that she’d “gifted” me with her baking and ice cream making talents. My only rejoinder: telling true tales about her. You’ll find my Mimi again in an essay about my dad in the forthcoming June 2011 anthology Dead Dads Club edited by Mary Burt-Godwin and in a memoir, should it ever see the light of a bookstore or e-reader. (I haven’t started collecting those rejection letters yet; I need to finish it first.)