Training Bra


I am strolling around Wal-Mart when I see it. A chicken nugget in a training bra. I am scanning the wall pegs for childrens’ socks when it catches my eye. Greasy. Golden. Tucked precariously into the left cup.

A chicken nugget in a bra – it means something. I decide it does. I seek poetry in the absurd as a means for entertaining myself. I look for literary devices and symbolism in the bizarre, and I look for it in this chicken nugget. I decide it is either a clever play on the word “chick” or a commentary on the training bra itself, unequipped as it is to hold a full breast. (I ignore the real meaning, which is that some people have manners that match their diets.)

I think I have reached the “training bra” stage in terms of my writing efforts. I am not particularly developed, but there is suddenly a little something there where, before, there was nothing.

I am contributing regularly to Calhoun Magazine, a glossy every-other-month community publication. I write a piece for Dysphagia Café every so often, and this month (and forgive me for being a total braggart, but this is my personal blog) I have an article in the upcoming July edition of The ASHA Leader.

These projects don’t bounce around too significantly, but I need to support them all the same. I am coming to terms with the fact that my writing is changing. Like everything changes. Maybe it will develop to the point that my back aches. Maybe it will shrink or sag. I don’t know in what way it will change, only that it will. That it has. Like everything does.

I guess this is my way of explaining a decrease in blog posts. I am trying to put more time and energy into freelance articles. I am playing around with some short fiction pieces, if merely for the exercise. I have come across a great group of local writers, and they have graciously made a place for me at their table. I am also making more of an effort to spend time reading well-written fiction.

So there you have it. My writing career has a training bra. I feel awkward and uncomfortable every time I slip it on. I am anxious that I will never outgrow it. That you’ll say I didn’t need it in the first place. That you’ll call me mediocre. I may be just that. Mediocre. There is one thing I am not, however; I am not chicken.


37 Comments on “Training Bra

  1. If I’d known you could carry this chicken nugget so far and so eloquently, I’d have dropped it into the training bra sooner. **wink, wink** I look forward to whatever you write with happy anticipation.

  2. What total magic that you would happen upon a nugget in a training bra. Of course it would be in a Walmart, and how splendid that so much meaning would pop-out for you. You helped me be more aware, too, that I am also carrying around this writing thing like an awkward little bra. Ha. We’re all a bunch of chicken tenders running around, made for big things. Looking forward to seeing more of your freelance articles and stories. Sounds awesome.

    • To be honest, the though process is more like, “Oh my gosh, how can I write a blog to showcase this awesome chicken-nugget-in-a-bra picture.”

    • Gug!!! You should SO write an article for the ASHA Leader! It was a really fun experience. There are really specific guidelines on their site regarding how to submit your proposal. You tell them your idea, provide a hook, give a paragraph writing sample, etc. They want nuts-and-bolts/how-to writing – bullets, etc. I made a nifty little chart for my article, and it took up about half of my word allowance (850 words). Email me at if you have any questions. Great to hear from you!

  3. Thank you! Have you ever submitted anything to a nursing magazine of any kind? With your professional background and lifestyle interests, you could write something they would love.

  4. I am always amazed that someone who writes so well is still insecure about her writing…please keep going…if only because I enjoy reading what you write.

  5. I remember a very popular dish know as “chicken in a basket” being served in bars in the UK many years ago. Although my own taste tends towards living, unbreaded flesh in bras, chicken in a bra in a bar may seems a natural step forward into the future for some.

  6. An entertaining, well-constructed piece! Extended metaphor from an observational launch point and provocative image, coming full circle at the end. Artfully written! Far from mediocre. 🙂

  7. One day when you are doing a live reading, you know, one that This American Life adds into a Christmas special, so help me, I better get mentioned.

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