Alison Clement

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

belief

taking a picture is not enough

A man was pushed onto the subway tracks last week and struggled to get out while a station full of people watched. Even more chillingly, someone took a photograph. I heard a radio commentator explain that this happens with crowds. Everyone thinks someone else will take care of the problem. Maybe it’s a message for us all. Maybe it suggests that we might approach problems—not just a stranger who needs […]

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this is not the year

This is not the year I get my garden in shape. I am not starting a new blog about the Weston Price diet. I am not joining the board of the group that works to help people in Gaza, even though it makes me feel terrible to say no. I cannot read the books chosen by my book group anymore. I can’t help with the Obama campaign. I can’t make […]

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just short of discursive meaning

In DC we went to an atheists rally, but I am not an atheist. It was the biggest atheist rally in history, or something like that. The periphery was lined with people wanting to save our souls, which is something I never understand. I went with Chuck and Maggie. Two atheists whose souls no one should ever worry about. Afterwards, we went to the National Gallery of Art and looked […]

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the secretive mind

At Kim Stafford’s poetry workshop I accidentally wrote a poem that told a secret even though I wasn’t thinking of the secret and when it came time to share what we had written I read something else. Is this what poems do—make you say things you want to keep hidden? It is ok to keep some things hidden which just means private as long as you know what they are. […]

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why is a feel oyster an egg stir

First of all, I don’t like Gertrude Stein’s writing. Conceptually what she is doing might be interesting, and I appreciate the fact that she was brave and that she wrote what she wanted to write even if she had to publish it herself, but her writing is awful to read. I was sitting in the train station this morning reading Tender Buttons and a young man was pacing up and […]

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The sun always shines in Algeria

It’s a mistake not to leave Oregon at least for a little while in the winter, and so we’re thinking about a trip. I’m reading A Moveable Feast. I want to go to Paris in the 20s but clearly that will not work out. When I went to Paris I met a woman named Beatrice whose apartment was full of books. She had a painting of flowers on the wall […]

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Three Queens

I’ve begun my young adult novel yet again. How many ways can I write the same story?  It was going to be my simple story, the one I wrote quickly, for fun. Oh, and my agent thought it would sell. Let’s be honest. The first version was disturbingly similar to the movie, The Sixth Sense. Something I didn’t notice until I had completed it. I went back and watched that […]

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Taha Muhammad Ali

Taha Muhammad Ali  (1931-2011): Palestinian poet, author of “So What; New and Selected Poems, 1971-2005” pub.2006, Copper Canyon Press  And so it has taken me all of 60 years to understand that water is the finest drink, and bread the most delicious food, and that art is worthless unless it plants a measure of splendor in people’s hearts. Thanks, Roger Weaver, for sending this.

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yes, cannibals are bad

“Why are there bad guys?” Sasha once asked me. If I had to name one personal obsessive existential question of my own, that would be it. Yeah, why are there bad guys?? Upon learning the definition of the word “cannibal,” four year old Sasha was quiet for moment. Then he turned to me and, hoping this was not some tradition he was only now becoming aware of, asked, “That’s bad, […]

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some small, diabolical plot

My birthday. I went to Market of Choice for coffee and to read  Pico Iyer, Sun After Dark. Market of Choice is a good place to drink a cup of coffee in the morning. It is warm, first of all. You do not have to wear a coat when you drink a cup of coffee in Market of Choice. It’s clean and the chairs are comfortable. There is no loud […]

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