Steven Beto Publishes in Nota Bene
Short story to appear in Phi Theta Kappa literary journal
Steven James Beto, a student in the Medical Administrative Assistant program at Dakota County Technical College, received word that his short story, “The Candy Bar Trees,” has been selected for publication in Nota Bene, the annual literary journal of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Raised in St. Paul and a resident of Northfield, Minn., Beto, 59, served during the Vietnam War as a U.S. Air Force medical service specialist.
Beto is set to graduate from DCTC in spring 2011 while simultaneously earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Minnesota. No stranger to success as a writer, he took home first prize in 2010 for a creative writing piece he entered in a Minnesota statewide writing contest sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
For more on Beto’s academic and writing careers, read “Vietnam Veteran Steven James Beto Shines in VA Writing Contest.” The edition of Nota Bene with “The Candy Bar Trees” will be published early in 2011.
Excerpt from “The Candy Bar Trees”
We rolled and bounced down a small hill to the edge of the woods and turned left along the corn rows. Crows chased an owl through the sky, picking at its tail feathers. We turned left again and headed back into the woods. At the base of a small rise grandpa stopped the wagon. Kelly rushed to the side of the wagon to see them, the white, peely-barked trees that had candy bars tied to their lower branches and scattered in the fallen leaves.
Steven James Beto: In His Own Words
I came to Dakota County Technical College a 57-year-old, uncut diamond that others had tossed out believing he was too rough around the edges and not worth the polish. I found at DCTC not just one, but a whole group of teachers who saw promise in me and who were willing to take the time to work with me. Teachers like Charlotte Kodner, Susan Johanson, Mark Grant, Brett Kolles, Dr. Saundra Bacon, Dr. Thomas, and especially, Eric Wardell, helped me to believe in myself.
Dr. Thomas has a photograph in his office of a teen-aged girl sitting on railroad tracks; it is the kind of haunting photograph through which you can glimpse part of your own story. We are the stories that we carry with us. Never doubt that everyone who enters our halls, no matter how round, how old, or how crusty in character, carries with them important life experiences and stories that have the potential to transform us all. Dakota County Technical College embraces those stories and provides a nurturing environment for their development.
Aspiring writers sometimes get derailed when they attempt to write the “Great American Novel”; they want to be the next Hemingway or Welty or Faulkner. It is easy to overlook the simple stories in our lives, and we all have them, whether about a dog, a friend, or a tree. In the process of rendering those memories and experiences we can sometimes create something of value.
Find your story. Write it down. Talk with Eric Wardell, or one of the other fine teachers mentioned above. Your story is important. Your experience is of value. You are worthwhile, and Dakota County Technical College stands in your support. There is no better color than DCTC blue.