A Trip to the Zoo (Story)

November 30, 2016 § 4 Comments


TrueStory Issue2 Cover.jpgPeople think I’m joking when I tell them I was once a zookeeper, but I was, for one glorious summer, moving from the big cats to the zebras and gnus to the ape exhibits to the children’s zoo to the polar bears, in two-week intervals, filling in for the real zookeepers as they left for summer vacation. I loved it: every moment.

Understandably then, my enthusiasm for Creative Nonfiction‘s new venture, True Story, was barely containable when I received the second installment, Steven Church’s essay “Trip to the Zoo.”

Church’s startling piece focuses on David Villalobos, a man who leaped into a tiger cage at the Bronx zoo and lived to tell about it. “Much of this True Story, selection focuses on my trip to New York City in 2014 to try and retrace David’s trip to the zoo (or at least most of his trip), and my ultimately failed efforts to get people to talk with me; but it also contains an imagined ‘outtake’ that didn’t make the editorial cut for the final book. So while it’s an excerpt it is also its own unique piece that you can’t get anywhere else,” Church explains.

The book Church refers to, One With the Tiger: Sublime and Violent Encounters between Humans and Animals is out just this month.

True Story, edited by Hattie Fletcher, will come out every month. “The True Story format lets us publish some longer pieces than we would usually be able to accept for Creative Nonfiction—and, I suspect, might have some trouble finding a home elsewhere,” Fletcher explained,”if only because there aren’t too many outlets (especially print outlets) for literary longform. And I think it’s great for readers; some of the most consistent feedback we get on reader surveys is to publish more frequently, and we hope this is sort of a hearty snack in between issues of the bigger magazine. Editorially, it’s been a lot of fun so far … though the turnaround between issues feels really fast, compared to the quarterly!”

gladysgiraffeYou can read more about True Story and subscribe for yourself at the CNF site. Might make a nice holiday gift, come to think of it.

Editor Hattie Fletcher, by coincidence, worked at the Cleveland Zoo when she was in high school, so there is some sort of convergence happening. Maybe.

Maybe not.

In any case, to reward those of you who have read this far down, here is a picture of a much younger Brevity editor and a giraffe named Gladys. She was lovely. And ate Vidalia onions whole.

___

Dinty W. Moore founded Brevity in 1997. He once was best friends with an elephant named Bubbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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§ 4 Responses to A Trip to the Zoo (Story)

  • Jan Priddy says:

    My husband Gary worked at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle years ago. He began as a volunteer in the Bird House and then was hired to work in the animal Commissary. He resembled the elephant keeper of the time, Paul. Both men were lean, of similar height and blond. One day an elephant rushed up to my husband, thinking he was Paul and when she discovered her mistake, gathered up trash from the gutter and attempted to spray him. Gary moved nearly fast enough to avoid being hit with elephant waste and straw—not quite.

  • Janice Gary says:

    I worked “backstage” at a zoo, too for a short while and loved it. Amazing experience.

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