Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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Lee Strickland’s fiction has been published in StoryQuarterly, the Gettysburg Review, and Other Voices. Her piece in this issue is her first published personal essay and is part of a memoir in progress, for which she is seeking an agent. She teaches writing at StoryStudio Chicago and North Park University and lives in Chicago with her husband and two dogs. On weekends they escape the city to their hundred-year-old farmhouse in Elizabeth, Illinois, where they go tubing down the Apple River.
One December morning in 1967, in the early hours before a dull winter sunrise, I labored alone on the fourth floor of Immanuel Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. I had expected labor to be work, more or less like it sounded: teeth-gritting effort, sweating, and grunting. Instead furious stallions stampeded across my eighteen-year-old belly, and no amount of shameless screaming in the direction of the fluorescent-lit hallway could quiet them.