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Portraitist, Positivity, Pince Nez & Spies

10-Childers-Obit-SS-slide-G4OS-jumboI read the name, Leee Black Childers, and looked at the picture of an old man, blurred and fleshy with heavily tattooed crossed arms sticking out of a simple cotton shirt. His head was tilted to one side and his face was soft with a slightly ironic and bemused smile. I didn’t recognize him but then it had been 45 years since I last saw him. I searched closer and remembered that tilt of the head with a hint of acceptance of things contrary to expectation. That was Leee. The young man I had known with bleached blonde, black roots hair and red bell-bottoms flashed out and then disappeared. If I just looked at the posture and the smile and ignored the rest, I saw Leee. I went back and forth, old man, young man. I was afraid to look away. I didn’t want to lose him. I knew it had to be Leee. Nobody else spelled their name with three e’s.  ~Excerpt from an essay-in-progress “Leee’s Obit” by Ruth Roberts

 

I like Corrine, I really do. But by my second drink, I want to physically hurt her in some way. A grazing kick to the shins, a quick slap that causes her to chip a back tooth. She is full of “positivity” a fake word she uses frequently. I suspect she heard it from her preacher at Faith Roundup, the non-denominational church that meets in the Show Barn at the County Fairgrounds. They have a huge turnout – three praise services on Sunday mornings, one on Wednesday evenings. Momma thinks it’s because of the snack bar –“Fervent worshippers can work up a real appetite.” ~Excerpt from a short-story-in-progress, “Stale Bread” by Nancy Nygard

 

images-1Three shirts, a corduroy jacket and an overcoat, all under a wool blanket; that’s what it took to stay warm at night in his Placard. And with the door closed, it was so dark Erik could never tell the hour. Hence, he’d frequently sleep away the morning all bundled up this way. Today he was deep in slumber when someone pounded on the door, causing his heart to lodge in his mouth.

“Monsieur, Monsieur, open up. It’s very important.”

Erik felt around in the dark for the latch on the inside of the door, jerking hard to jar the frost on the mechanism. He opened the door the small gap it could spread before hitting the cot and a sharp beam of sunlight pierced the darkness. He stared into the face of a stranger with an envelope, a telegram. Lord, what has happened?

“One moment,” Erik said and felt around for his pince nez. He took the envelope, slid his finger under the flap and opened it. “Thank you, Monsieur,” he said, while he searched his pocket for a coin. He paid the young deliveryman who turned to go. Erik hunted for the box of matches and lit the hurricane lamp on top of his up-ended trunk, then closed the door, the frigid winter now having invaded his only slightly warmer space. Erik flopped back on the bed. Now carefully, he read the telegram in privacy.

At the hospital in St. Ouen. Come right away. Gaby critical.

   Claude  

~Excerpt from 38 Umbrellas, a novel-in-progress, by Michelle Fogle 

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They all ate in silence. Ann felt renewed energy as the sugar and carbs did their work. She wasn’t going to die, and these people might actually know something about Violet. She would have to wait for whoever else was joining their little breakfast club. Hopefully this escapade would be finished by the afternoon so she could track down Violet and shower before her date with Graham. All in a day’s work, she thought, optimistic now that her belly was full. She sat back, content to keep prodding these people with questions until she could escape to find Violet herself.

~Excerpt from a novel-in-progress by Dalia Astalos

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