typewriter images are from mytypewriter.com
Below is a chronological list of my published creative nonfiction, with publication information, brief synopses, praises (scant few), and links to HTML or PDF files (where available) and to most journals' Web sites (linked journal names go not to my own work, but to each journal's main page). In order to view PDF files, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free and easy to install. I made the PDFs low quality in order to reduce their file size and allow quick loading, but they are still legible.
Because literary journals are often obscure, I have created an explanatory document called Regarding Quality of Literary Journals, which gives my opinion and some evidence to help determine which of my publications are worthwhile.
Divers Weights and Divers Measures
Post Road forthcoming Spring 2003
This is another collection of related fragments, this time with the unifying theme of epiphany.
You will notice that this piece shares a title with another piece in Water~Stone (see below), but the two are totally different.
I started this essay, then noticed Max Beerbohm's essay of the same name, which referenced Henri Bergson's book-length essay of the same name. So at least my title has good company.
Divers Weights and Divers Measures
Water~Stone 5.1 (Fall 2002): 95-108.
This is my brain on Eduardo Galeano. Any questions? This is a collection of disparate fragments hoping to mean something together.
You will notice that this piece shares a title with another piece in Post Road (see above), but the two are totally different.
This is a crossover essay; it's about Uruguay, but it's also fragmentary and somewhat thematic. The best thing about it is that the words in the title are in alphabetical order in Spanish (whose alphabet lists ll as its own letter apart from and after l).
Under the Sun has included this essay on their web site in PDF format (not HTML). Their PDF file is cleaner than mine, but it's one printed page per PDF page, whereas mine is two printed pages per. Also, theirs doesn't have italics where they should be (I don't know why), which might make reading slightly more difficult.
This essay was recently (Nov. 2002) nominated for a Pushcart Prize, which gathers "the best of the small presses" in an annual anthology. Nomination does not necessarily mean reprinting in the anthology. We'll see.
In some ways, this is a major revision of an essay I wrote about my son's skull operation, which he underwent at two months. It's also one of my first attempts at a fragmentary essay, and it tries to deal with questions of faith and science and theory and practice, which, it sometimes seems, come up a lot in my writing.
Leilani Hall, who edited this issue of Mississippi Review, wrote: "Coming from a background in science, Pat Madden navigates faith and the metaphysical in suffering at home and abroad. He speaks with a yearning insistence to understand what remains in the absence of formula."
Brian Doyle, editor of Portland Magazine and a two-time Best American Essays honoree, wrote: "Whew—that's excellent. Haunting. My favorite line in it is the flat 'he died anyway,' just sitting there alone prickly defiant cold. A very interesting layered braided piece of work. I admire it."
This is about my friend Gonzalo Glattli's death. But more than that (you can see it coming but I don't care), it's about his life, or a small part of it that intersected with mine.
The essay that most made me want to be an essayist is Ian Frazier's "Take the F," which I found in Best American Essays 1996. That essay is a wander through Brooklyn. This essay is a wander through Montevideo.
In this essay I misuse the word strand where I should use stand as in "a stand of trees." My error was confirmed by a recent Rush song. Which goes to show: one should always use a dictionary and/or listen intently to Rush.
Brian Doyle (see above for legitimating accolades) wrote: "Liked your Monte vidi eu essay very much ... sharp eye, gentle humor, the listing of colorful detail, the sensuality of it. I feel and taste and hear it. Lovely."
The title is from The Beatles, as is the sentiment. This is a fragmentary essay from before I started reading fragmentary essays or knew much about them. And it's about my wife.
This is not about beer; it's about fast friendships and the mystery of love and longing.
One of my best friends I met when we were stuck together as missionary companions in Durazno, Uruguay. This is the story of Elder Kalu the Nigerian and our adventures together knocking on doors soon after Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa and during the 1994 World Cup, which included both Nigeria and the United States but not Uruguay.
Confluence 12 (2001): 21-24.
This is a lesson I learned about a strangely animated weed, North American smugness, and folk wisdom.
New Delta Review 18.1 (Fall/Winter 2000): 25-32.
Working with lots of missionaries, rescuing abandoned puppies, eating pizza and brownies with Evangelistas on Mothers' Day: what more could you want?
Inexplicably, the journal's Web page lists me as a "distinguished essayist" who has published there. Who knew?
We Were Born to Be Loved
Windhover 5 (Fall/Winter 2000): 16-26.
This is about King's X bassist/singer Doug Pinnick's homosexuality and his fans' reactions to the news.
Taking a group of very poor kids to Church ends up not being such a great experience for anybody involved. This is about culture and religion and wealth and class and theory and practice.
This essay got third place in the 1999 Elsie C. Carroll Informal Essay Contest. In it, I used a made-up word, frunced, a past-tense verb which I created from the Spanish fruncir, which means something like to frown. The astute editors at Dialogue, however, corrected my word to the somewhat archaic but legitimate English word frounced. Hooray.
The Bidet Towel
Sphere 44 (2000): 64-65.
Something to do with a bidet, a towel, and my face.
This is the first real essay I ever wrote. I wanted to express poverty without ever using the words poverty or poor, and I wanted to describe this place down to the buzzing of the flies, the dust dancing in the sunlight through a window. It's about Luis Silva, who died of cancer shortly after he was baptized into the Mormon Church.
This essay won first place in the 1998 BYU Studies personal essay contest.
The Most Correct of Any Book
Rough Draft (Summer 1999): 22-23.
Mormons know that this refers to the Book of Mormon. I know (now) that it's not a good idea to bash people over the head with it.
This essay contains the adjective canous, which I made up from the Spanish canoso, which means "salt-and-pepper haired" or "graying." In any case, my first published neologism.
How President Sana Split Maroñas
The Daily Universe 8 October 1998: 15.
He was sort of Grinchy, but I admired the no-nonsense leadership of this guy, so I wrote an essay about him.
This essay won the 1998 George H. Brimhall Founders Day Essay Contest, whose theme was "On the wheels of a dream." I chose to completely ignore the theme, which I considered unfortunately cheesy, and I won $750 for my efforts. While this turn of events may have damaged my humility, it did give me some good confidence with which to face the seemingly endless rejection letters that were soon to come. And it's still the most money I've ever made writing.
This includes four shorter pieces ("I'll See If I Can Make It," "Gimme the Goats," "The Willow-Tree Gang," and "The Bidet Towel"). I had mistranslated the name Uruguay from Guaraní, thus the birds instead of snails.