In the middle of hopscotch, I
stopped, quivering, my legs wide open on the six and seven chalked on the driveway. Cool air
scoured my knees. My face
blanched. The nubs of my chest
curled up. I flung the potsie off into the blue pine tree. I was too old for hopscotch. I wasn’t playing the game against
anybody but myself.I was
alone in the deep way that being outside in the pre-dawn in your nightgown and
bare feet makes you alone.
I was losing the
night. The dawn stretched across the end of the block, where the road curved
away from our neighborhood, where a stream bounded a field, and flowed away. I
had always wanted to know where that stream led, and maybe this weekend, I’d
follow it, but who was I kidding? I had too many responsibilities to play the adventurer (or so I thought at fourteen). I shivered, the cold and light rooting into me. I
forced myself to stand absolutely still; I could do this if I had to do.
My 17-year-old son has no interest in seeing the new Blade
Runner movie, and neither do his friends. Why? They can't or don't want to
relate to a dark vision of the technology. They are technological natives. They
want careers in tech; they see the promise of tech. They have no connection to
the original Blade Runner. They rarely go to the movies in the first place.
They have their gaming worlds, their drowning amount of homework (these are
bright kids:), their worries fueled by every day grown ups who can't or won't be
upfront with them about the perils of climate change they see all around them
in stronger storms. They live with inconvenient truths, with dystopian reality,
and don't need or desire it in movies now in their lives. They want a future,
however, not this one, not this film. Blame Trump. Blame ourselves, their
parents, or creators.
Thoughts from other parents??
Or, am I only a replicant?
Thrilled to share news that my short story, "SWEETNESS" is included in the new anthology THE WAY TO MY HEART: an anthology of food-related romance edited by the fabulous Kelly Ann Jacobson. And even nicer news—it was honored with the first place award.
From the judge Josephine Yu: "I was impressed by the voice and complexity of
“Sweetness” and the paradox it draws between Italian words and the foreign language
of a medical diagnosis. The bittersweet choice the narrator makes reminds us
that love in any stage or condition is worth savoring."
Molte Grazie (Many thanks!!) from a grateful writer
This anthology is available now via Amazon.
Write, Write, the yowling of desire.
Do you have a six word memoir? Must be six words. Post it, here, there.
Where does a writer start?
The question WHY? Eventually, upon analysis, I’ve learned that my initial
why. My curiosity. My questioning
myself and the human condition – leads to what English teachers call
How, in the 21st century, in Long Island, New York, can a group of suburban teens—turn on people who lived among them? Strangers, but not strange. Two brothers who weren’t bothering anyone—just because they were not like them? And why did no one——parents, teachers, coaches, notice anything? Why did none of their wide circle of friends say: this is wrong? What is the nature of hate and prejudice in the 21
century? These are the questions my character struggle with in my 2011 young adult novel, LIE.
With my 2014 young adult novel–Before My Eyes– three intertwined stories – but also inspired by the why. Why did no
one see what was going inside with these three fragile teens–especially one
who is going through a psychic break–and who has so easily bought a gun?
The second thing I start with is:
A voice in my head. A sense that something is
going to happen to this person–I’m not sure what, but I’m going on a
journey with him or her. It may end well; it may not. It may end unsettled—in a
question because my characters are complicated.
Ultimately, these novels end.
Yet life remains complicated, so I am starting a new novel; one I am aiming for adults, since our lives, these days, are more complicated than ever. STAY TUNED.
THE CRITIQUE GROUP
talk about giving birth and menopause, about celebrities we would jump in bed
with if we had the opportunity, about being married forever from one of us, and
not having a date in eighteen months, shit, maybe more— and about your
grandmother: How is she? Her home in Chevy Chase is being sold. Ninety years
old, and my parents have decided that she can not live alone anymore— the
unreliable furnace and those long flights of stairs leading to all those
unopened rooms. We gather closer to her, the youngest among us, and urge her to
write more, about her grandmother, about what matters and what terrifies. What
we think to ourselves: How did we find one another? How lucky we are— four
women poised between twenty-nine and fifty. What we say aloud: We should meet
more often. We drink more wine, weep, scream, howl, beat our fists against one
another, laugh gulping for air, a certain power in us to write about anything. And
he always arrives late, slick with sweat, riding his bicycle on even the
coldest of nights, changing the pheromones in the wide-open room. When he says:
Did I miss anything? We say: We haven’t even started.
The Critique Group was included in the new anthology, ABUNDANT GRACE published by Richard Peabody and Paycock Press in December, 2016, and featuring women writers in the Washington DC area. My fiction selection is one of the shortest in this amazing collection. Praise be to Richard Peabody for including it. Copies of the anthology can be purchased at http://www.gargoylemagazine.com/paycock.
A year or so ago I was watching the evening news and saw an image that filled me with anger and despair. The result was this piece of short or "flash" fiction entitled: "BEHEADED," which was just published in the wonderful online literary journal,FICTION SOUTHEAST.
Here is a link to this new short short:
Thank you for reading!
I was going to write a long blog about the value of entering
contests, but what I really want you to do is read my short story,
"Gargoyles and Stars,"winner of the 2016 Writer Magazine short story
contest judged by Colum McCann. I rarely enter contests so I truly have
no wisdom to share except to enter them once in a while, if you admire
the work of the judge or the publication, if you feel lucky, if you
don't feel lucky and want to feel lucky for a moment. ——Caroline