After he died and her youngest son left for college, we encouraged her to write down her fables and send them for publication.
She had a huge vocabulary but “shy” and “modest” were not in it, and submitted several dozen articles. They would all be rejected for fundamentally the same reason: “we like the piece but we don’t publish essays, personal or creative.” After studying them we had to agree with the editors: even the most off-center tales smack read real life.
“Well, why don’t you send them to essay editors?”
Again she didn’t need much convincing, and one by one each piece would be accepted, even by big hitters.
Part of her success was due to her changing personality on command. She first experimented with being a kinky 22-year old nurse who wants to play rough sex, preferably with morgue workers. The next one was a middle-aged traveling salesman, faithful to his wife and a good family man back home, who turns into a ravenous beaver hunter as soon as he gets on the road. The third type was her favorite: an old man spending his pension money on underage prostitutes in addition to being an animal lover in the most physical sense.
After identifying as one of the three characters in a short paragraph, an essay completely unrelated followed, which created a dizzying fog for the readers who eventually caved in concluding that their minds had been stretched to new limits and, as a result, they’d become better persons.
Refined people could not get enough of her articles. Sex sells—even though the rest of each essay had nothing to do with sex. The magical first paragraph did the trick every time.
The few of us who knew her realized that in addition to seeing the world through a cockeyed lens her true talent was that during writing she could convince herself that she really was one of the three perverts.
In reality she was a lonely old lady who went to church every Sunday and once a month to confessional.
Those poor priests.