Alison Clement

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



Indries Shah says we have forgotten how to listen to stories. Do you remember reading stories as a child?  I want to read like that again, like nothing else matters. I grew up near a small woods in Greenville, South Carolina. I played there everyday, almost always alone. That was before everyone was afraid and stopped letting their little girls go off by themselves. When I started Catholic school in […]

Continue Reading →

flowers from little girls

  The little girls next door are selling flowers and when a man in a red van responds to their calls by stopping, I slow down and note his license plate number, just in case, and one of their mothers comes outside to stand on the porch, pretending to have business there. I feel sorry for men and I feel sorry for mothers and for children and all of us, […]

Continue Reading →

not irreplaceable

12 June 2009 Yesterday was my last day of work at my school, after 13 years, which was more odd than sad. I will miss sitting in my rocking chair reading Bark, George; How Squirrel Got his Stripes; Pete, Smartypants at School; The Lorax; The Viper; The Greatest Power; Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. My hardest moment came when Robbie came to say goodbye. See you next year! he […]

Continue Reading →

true for me, too

>Yolanda forgot to return her library books, so she couldn’t check out the one on polar bears. “I’m sorry,” I called after her.  Her friend, turned to me. “Don’t worry. In a minute she’ll start thinking of something else and then she’ll be happy again.”

Continue Reading →

Pabla and the agate

Someone objected to my statement that I have been fired, when really I’m only being moved out of my school and into a different one. Okay, fine. I am overly dramatic. I am sad about leaving the school where I’ve worked for 13 years. Today ten year old Pabla gave me an agate and a note that said, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and then she skipped away with her long […]

Continue Reading →


> Blanca has come to the library almost every morning this week asking for me to give her tag board from the supply room. She is in 3rd grade. Her teacher is new and she must not realize we aren’t supposed to give a child tag board every day, but I don’t care. Blanca is a girl who always knows what she is doing. One day she needed it for picture […]

Continue Reading →

>x marks the spot

My boss is building walls in the library. I will only say this: many things need doing right now at our school and building a windowless room in our beautiful, open library is not one of them. We’re having a fight. A fight that I, because of my subordinate position, am doomed to lose. The builders have come and put xs on the floor to show where the walls will […]

Continue Reading →