Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Brief History of "The Madonna of Main Street"

By Bacopa Literary Review 2017 Creative Nonfiction contributor Erica Verrillo

I was enormously surprised when Bacopa Literary Review not only published my personal essay, "The Madonna of Main Street," but gave it Honorable Mention. It had, like most of my short pieces, been turned down numerous times by literary magazines. For writers, rejection is a  way of life.

The Madonna is a real person, and my encounter with her, as told in the essay, is completely factual. None of the details of this story vary from what actually happened.

My reasons for giving a pregnant panhandler all my money that day were personal, but they came from a backdrop of having spent a decade working with Mayan refugees in Central America. When I returned home after years abroad, I found that we had our own domestic refugees--the homeless, the impoverished, the disabled, the "mentally ill"--all the discarded human detritus of society.

After writing the story of the beatific Madonna, I launched a nonprofit, AMMES, to help severely ill people from becoming homeless. You can read about the nonprofit here.I also write a blog that provides publishing resources for struggling writers: Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity. Writers need all the help they can get.

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Erica Verillo has published Elissa's Quest, Elissa's Odyssey, and World's End (Random House). Her short work has appeared in more than a dozen publications. She holds degrees from Tufts University (BA - History), Syracuse University (MA - Linguistics), and has done doctoral work in Anthropology and Speech Communication (UT Austin).

Read Erica Verrillo's Creative Nonfiction Honorable Mention,
"The Madonna of Main Street" (pp. 51-54), and other works
in Bacopa Literary Review 2019 (Print Edition or Digital Format).

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