Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

belief

Also a Sandhill Crane

My yoga teacher moved to Florida. Every few days she posts a photograph on Facebook. While most of my friends post updates on Gaza or Ferguson, on labor efforts, climate change, police brutality, Monsanto, or economics, she posts the image of a bird, flying over the ocean; the sunset; a tree. It’s messy, being alive. It’s never all one way or another. It’s Gaza and Ferguson, and it’s also a […]

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Not to be confused with the Middle Ages

Yesterday I heard about a man who stole a can of beer from a convenient store in Georgia and went to jail for a year. I heard the story of the shootings in Santa Barbara.  I heard a school official saying we just can’t do anything. Australia did, you know, but no one talks about that. I heard the story of a girl and her family who couldn’t afford housing and […]

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Like a Flat Surface

I told Sherry I had a theory that everything was happening at the same time. We were driving through the countryside in Illinois at night and we were maybe 24 years old. We think what comes later has more weight, that it cancels out or helps us forgive or understand or lose credit for what happened earlier. But what if there is no later? What if it’s all the same? […]

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Axolotl and the defiance of thought

I’ve been thinking about this one story since I was 22 years old, but I never wrote it before. Okay, I wrote a nonfiction version. I wrote a fictional third person version, told as a report. I gave it up. And then Kerry showed us the short story, Axolotl, by Julio Cortázar. And Margery said what Cortázar did, his method, was to take a subject and stick with it, follow […]

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The Village of Witches

We went looking for a village of witches. We passed a man with a  machete. A donkey. A sign said go back this is an active volcano but nobody went back. People put up signs that said viva el revolultion which we could read even though our Spanish is bad. Masks hung on walls, on fences, and on houses. We passed sugar cane fields. A man walked along the road […]

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I am not improving myself.

I read a Facebook post by a guy from Europe about the way Americans ride our bikes. Fast and joyless, like we are in race. We do this for no reason,  without thinking, because hurrying is automatic, it’s what we do. We turn things into a race, into a chore, a goal, into what’s good for us, into self-improvement. So after that FB post, I changed. Now I leave earlier. […]

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But it’s also the face of a real child.

It’s the image I want but it is also the face of a real child. I was looking for images for the Pinterest board I’ve created around my latest manuscript. I collect images for story ideas. I collect images around my books. In this latest as yet unpublished book my character Mavis “was a secret animist” as a child. I searched images for “animist” and found a stunning picture of […]

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Little Bird

The structure … is always the story of how the birds came home to roost.    –Arthur Miller I’ve been watching Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallender series.  I like crime movies. but I don’t like to dwell on the crime, which is what American crime movies usually do, as if the crime is what’s interesting. I went to see The Life of Pi, even though I don’t like movies or books that […]

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