top of page
  • Shamiya Anderson

Not So Famous Last Words


Sophomore year, I decided what my final words would be.

Famous and noble men are remembered fondly for their last words. Thomas Jefferson, Marie Antoinette, and countless others have created a legacy through their final sentences.

There’s so much pressure to put the right words together, to leave the world with a message that in essence captures a whole person. With all of this in mind, I put some serious thought into what I would say. I added articles and cut out nouns. I frowned at the definitive period at the end of the sentence and stuck my tongue out at my sorry pronoun usage.

All of that culminated into what will be my final message to the world:

“It was the chicken.”

Short, sweet, and to the point of my greasy, characteristically unhealthy diet that will most likely be the cause of my early grave.

Don’t judge.

The words “It was the chicken,” came from the voice of an elderly woman from a fiction story I wrote. The words were the final statement of her will and this was her way of confessing to killing her husband years earlier.

Out of every story I wrote last year, this was the only line that even my friends walked around saying after they read it. Somehow the simple, four word, foodie-induced phrase created a memorable effect.

Now that I’m on Élan staff as the Junior Creative Nonfiction Editor, the truth to that statement has never seemed clearer to me. The pieces we read don’t have to have a car chase and a gruesome death. There’s nothing better than writing with subtlety that engrosses you more than the graphic detail given to how someone butters their toast.

Strong writing has needs nothing but the words and the essence of the writer themselves.

It’s always the not-so-famous last words that make the greatest impact anyways.

--Shamiya Anderson, Creative Non-Fiction Editor


bottom of page