Stories from My Memory-Shelf: Fiction and Essays from My Past
The story of my life told in short fiction and essays. Features author commentary on the real-life events that inspired the stories.
Now available in paperback (both standard and LARGE PRINT sizes) and eBook at retailers worldwide:
“Girl in Pink, Seeing Red”
Never mess with a little girl’s best friend – even if she is dressed all in pink.
Micro fiction. Includes author commentary.
“He is clasping my hand and leading me down the street to the local bar; propping me up on a barstool so all his friends can see, can joke with me and about me while I twirl about on the red vinyl, tall and proud to be out with Daddy.”
Vignette. Includes commentary on the fathers from my youth.
A young girl walks to school alone – is she being stalked?
Flash fiction. Includes an alternate version and my essay “How Many Times Do I Have to Rewrite this %&^# Thing? The ‘Yellow Wagon Saga”
“The Second Grade”
“One early autumn afternoon my new friend Amanda taught me some cheerleading moves she’d copied from TV and then convinced me to assist her in putting on a show for the boys of the neighborhood.
After the unremarkable entertainment she approached me, her eyes glistening. ‘Did you notice how when I was up there on the picnic table, the boys were all interested and excited and stuff?’
‘Sure,’ I said. I had, of course, noticed no such thing. I’d been far too busy concentrating on what was, to me, a complicated choreography.
‘And when you were up there, did you see how they sat with their heads down, kind of bored?’ She smiled broadly when she said it.
‘Sure,’ I agreed, not wanting to sound as if I had overlooked something so important, and for the first time wondering whether I was coordinated or not.
She began kicking her beautifully browned legs high in the air and it was thirty years before I danced in public again.”
Essay. Because everything’s a first when you’re in the second grade.
“She was strong, she was beautiful, she was graceful. Even if it was only in twilight that it showed.”
My very first flash fiction publication. Includes author commentary.
“Past and Present”
“ ‘It was lucky I forgot my keys,’ her mother was saying, rubbing the raised scar between her daughter’s thumb and forefinger. ‘I came back and found you lying in a pool of blood.’ ”
Flash fiction. Third place winner of Avalon Literary Review’s Summer 2013 Contest. Includes author commentary.
“Large for my age, prideful of my tomboyhood, and assured in my paranormal incredulity, it was I who braved the deep, I, even, who had relayed the tale of the enigmatic contents of the newspaper room following my first venture there, and inadvertently set the neighborhood to wondering what horrors might be lurking at its bottom.”
Essay. In which rationality triumphs over superstition – almost.
“ ‘What’s the matter, Sutton?’ Mr. Jenkins inquired. ‘Schneider get your goat?’
There was a momentous silent pause followed by the audible snap of thirty heads whipping around in unison towards the mortified young girl and the shamelessly grinning boy who had yanked on her ponytail until she’d finally shouted at him to quit it.”
Flash fiction. Includes commentary on how acquiring an odious nickname changed my adolescent life for the better.
“I didn’t think I wanted to get married. But now I wonder who will take me to the bathroom when I’m too old to stand.”
Micro fiction. Includes author commentary on why married people live longer.
“Go on, deep-water girl! Keep on lookin’ for that deep water! You won’t never find it!”
Micro fiction. Includes commentary on “deep-water man” and one of my more bizarre travel experiences.
“He approached her, thumbs tucked into the pockets of his own full-length dungarees, evidently immune to the heat.
‘Say, that’s an expensive trip,’ he observed. ‘You, uh – you got enough money to get there?’ ”
Flash fiction. Includes commentary on my first time being propositioned as a body for hire – and how long it took me to realize that that’s what had happened.
“It was something, wasn’t it? Finding five dollars. Not a matter of life or death, maybe. Not just yet.”
Flash fiction. Includes commentary on one of the most trying times of my life, my homeless period.
“Heads of the Line”
“Each job had its own rhythm. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Thunk; thunk; thunk. It was such a persuasive rhythm that sometimes you even forgot that it was a part of the job. Like that unfortunate header from last season…”
Flash fiction. Includes commentary on my months working in an Alaskan fish-packing plant.
“He raised his flashlight and looked her over, as they always did, comparing the image on the out-of-state license to the young woman in the rusty van that pre-dated her by a decade.”
Flash fiction. Includes author commentary on being a recurring “victim” of vehicular profiling.
“An unremarkable middle-aged woman was sunk into the plastic chair outside of the room next to mine, her elbows crushed upon her knees, deeply engaged in smoking a thin, brown cigarette. I nodded politely and so did she and that was when it hit me that she was the first white person I’d seen in hours, perhaps all day.”
Essay on finally understanding how it must feel to be black in a largely white world.
“Baby and Me”
“Our best friends were having a baby. Inwardly, I groaned.”
Flash fiction. In which I fail to comprehend the reproductive instinct that seems to be consuming everyone around me.
“Funeral for Charlie”
“I watched as the water swirled away, taking Charlie on one final miraculous journey to the home of his ancient ancestors, to the ocean the abrupt end of his short life had precluded him from ever going to see.”
Flash fiction. Sad, but oh so true.
“Dead in the Water”
“She hung suspended, gazing up at the sky, the sun, the surface, at the cord entangling her foot. It was too late. She would drown; she would die there beneath the water, ten feet away from the people who loved her.”
Micro-fiction. Includes commentary on the day that changed the course of my life forever.
An exploration of the map of my body.
Essay. Includes author commentary. “Youth does not have a fair picture of itself… It is only with the perspective of years that we begin to see our lives in patterns, in great sweeping arcs that promise, if we examine them closely, to reveal to us something of ourselves, something of who we were, something of who we have become. Something of who we will become.”
What stories are on YOUR memory-shelf?
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