She loved the things I made.
It didn’t matter what it was. Macaroni glued to a paper plate. A play my brother and I performed for her and Dad. A painting. An outfit. A song.
She’s why I keep making, keep creating. Because she told me the world needs to hear what I have to say.
She’s the only one to have ever read the first half of my unfinished and decidedly terrible first novel. The only one to lament my never finishing it.
Many years, countless creations, and three novels later, I have something new to give her. A story. And a song.
A story that feels as though it were harvested from my own body, untangled from my sinew and cut away from my bone.
So, here is the beginning. The first chapter of 13. It’s written and ready. All that’s left is for me to speak it into being.
For you, Mama.
Clashwood Ep 1
This is the first draft of the narration track to my upcoming podcast. Feel free to subscribe if you’d like to stay in the know.
The woman was so thin there couldn’t have been room inside for her soul. She was embedded into the stained mattress and wore a thin nightdress soaked through with sweat. I blushed for her: she might as well have been naked, all the good that garment did her.
“Mama.” Albert took off his hat and kissed her cheek. “It’s me.”
She took a deep breath, though the air seemed to grate against her tongue. “More.”
“I didn’t bring any, Mama.”
“Then, why’d you come?” She turned her face away from us all and looked out the streaked window.
Life’s most deafening moments are the quiet ones.
We all used to be someone else.
A smile tried to form on one side of her lips, more hungry than happy. It shook her skin, fell back into her mouth, and she swallowed it.
An excerpt from my current WIP and a song it inspired:
“We neared the edge of the forest and Father frowned toward the house, which drooped and sagged from the tug of the earth. My brothers had left it unattended and unpolished, all of its secrets exposed to the sun though they were designed for nothing but shadow. He glanced at Albert, who trudged along in tall grasses, his view of the house obscured.
Father slowed his gait and started to sing:
Below the floor.
Hide just like
You’ve done before.
But ever near.
He repeated the verses until Albert learned the words and joined in. Ribbons of song, the edges sharp and black, cut through the air and touched the roof of the house. When the music landed, it melted and ran, burnishing charred slate shingles to gleaming copper as it dripped down.”
Antlers dangled from the sides of the hood he wore and dried out hooves clanged together with hollow whispers at his elbows. Rabbits with broken necks hung from his belt alongside birds with broken wings. Broken spirits filled his pockets. At least that day we would only be hunting animals. He wore something entirely different when he hunted man.