Alison Clement

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


the wrong reader

Dense, dreary and boring,  one Amazon reviewer calls WG Sebold’s book, Austerlitz, like it doesn’t occur to him that he might simply be the wrong reader. Like maybe he doesn’t get it. Man Ray says if you don’t like something, turn away, go find something else. Which is hard to do but good to keep in mind. I was walking with Harrison yesterday at dusk, my favorite time of day. […]

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Harry Finds Out About Mortality

No! He’s not even three yet. There was a dead deer in the river. Why? Why did it die? Why is its head in the water? What happened? Why did it die? He always comes back to that, that fundamental, heartbreaking human question. His mom tells him we don’t know. We die and our bodies go back into the earth and things grow and so we’re part of the life […]

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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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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 In this latest as yet unpublished book my character Mavis “was a secret animist” as a child.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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a very short guy

My daughter says I need to come up with a name for myself. A grandmother name. It’s something women do, women like me, grandmothers, they decide on their own names. Names like Nana or Mamey. –How about Mimi, that’s a good name. –You can’t just make up a random name. –I’m not making up a random name. If I was making up a random name, I’d say something like Josette. […]

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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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