Archive for Narratives

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mailboxThe clock reads 12:03. He’ll be home for lunch soon. She marks the page in her book and unfolds herself from the hideous couch, with its big blue flowers. She opens the shades of the single window, letting a faint beam of light into the dull gloom that is their apartment. They have lived here for a month now in this unfamiliar town, far enough away from home that no one has bothered to visit.

In the bathroom, she surveys her face. It’s bloated. Pregnancy pounds. She’s only in her sixth month, but her face has filled out something awful. Quickly, she applies concealer and a bit of lipstick. Lining her eyes makes them look a little less red. She slips out of her pjs and into the blue tent shirt that her mother bought. The old gray sweat pants still fit over her belly and she’s thankful for that. Read the rest of this entry »

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dangerous shoesI just came across this piece I wrote in 2005 which makes me desperately want to add another chapter to the manuscript. How can I have written 74,000 words and not told you about Ari? The last time I saw her was a couple of months before Ashlie (aka Alice) died. She came to Mo-town to visit and the three of us lunched together. There is much I could say, but perhaps it’s too late. In an effort to resist the urge to shove another story into an already over-crowded book, I am sharing the poem here. Let it not be said that I forget my friends. Read the rest of this entry »

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SpriteA few years ago, I gave my father a fat stack of stories that I’d written about our family, hoping to connect with him by sharing a bit of myself. What I didn’t know for years after was the stories hurt him deeply, each one feeling like a condemnation when I had written them as love letters. This is one of those stories:

 

There’s this tiny alcove at the mechanic’s shop, with a garish gold recliner and a soggy box of National Geographics. I am actually delighted with the room and curled now into the recliner with both feet tucked beneath me while the mechanic changes my tires. His sweet, smelly golden retriever has been following me around since I arrived fifteen minutes ago, and now, he sits beside me like a fuzzy end table, mumbling an ancient tennis ball and practically purring while I scratch his head.

This is one of those moments when I am most my father’s daughter, content amid the wrenches, oil filters and battery cables. Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ve been twiddling my thumbs this week, waiting for the beta-readers to finish their beta-reading so I can get back to the revisions on the book. In the meantime, a new story bloomed and I dove in head-first, hoping it would keep me from obsessively checking my e-mail, awaiting feedback. That said, here’s a sneak peak at the new project, tentatively titled “Dancing The Macarena With Jesus“. It is, of course, a super-rough draft so please keep that in mind as you go.

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ColumbiaAt this point in my revision process I’m supposed to be cutting words, not adding them, but last night I pounded out a rough version of a new chapter, one of those things that I’d toyed with writing originally but never got around to. I don’t know if it will stay in the book, but I thought I’d share it here because it amused me enough that I couldn’t quite keep it to myself. 

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 Mom taught us that if we cursed with a strong enough accent, we could get away with it. Seriously, you can say shite and feckin’ in front of the whole class and no one will notice, but one futher-mucker and the whole thing goes to hell.” Alice says, leaning between the front seats so she can be sure that Sophie hears her.

 Max snorts from the backseat beside Alice, but doesn’t look up from his GameBoy.

 You taught them to curse with a Scottish accent?” Sophie asks, incredulous.

 It was my Irving Welsh period,” I say, “and to be perfectly honest, I was tired of being called to the Principal’s office.”

We’re on our way to Columbia State Park a tiny ghost town in the foothills below the Sierra Nevada mountains. I may have grown up in the valley, but I was born in the foothills and driving through them on this late spring morning still feels a bit like coming home.

We stop off in Sonora to have a quick lunch with Ruby who works in the Memorial Chapel three blocks from the apartment where my first memories are stored. It’s another ten minutes to Columbia, the main street of which has been restored to it’s 1850s charm, It’s the kind of place that kids visit on school trips, and families stop off at on their summer vacation. For my family, it holds even a more personal nostalgia as the house my maternal grandparents lived in is two blocks up from Main St. Read the rest of this entry »