Alison Clement

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


>Burying Angel O’Malley

I didn’t know Annalise very well, but when she died, I went to her service. She lived in Beaver Creek, and she grew garlic. I have a picture of her surrounded by long stalks of garlic, with flowers in her hair. When she died I went to her house and cleaned it. Margie from down the road showed up with her tractor and mowed the field that was Annalise’s yard. […]

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>Twenty Questions and the kids at my school

(a question from the blog, Book Lovers Online Guide, courtesy of the Roseville, California Library) The descriptions of the innocence and tenderness of the school children struck me deeply, made me think of my own young children. Is this feeling coming out of your own experience working at a school? For the last ten years, I’ve worked in the library of an elementary school. The school where I work is […]

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>at the beach

Two kindergarten boys were playing with plastic animals: porpoises, whales, little elephants. One of the boys was telling me about the beach. I saw a whale at the beach. I saw a humpback whale. I saw a porpoise at the beach. I saw a dead seal at the beach. The other boy interrupted. I saw a little elephant at the beach.  

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>Lydia’s Not Poem

>Today is the first day of school and, in honor of that, I’m going to publish a poem written by a 4th grader named Lydia. I taught a poetry workshop to her class a few years ago, using Kenneth Koch’s lesson plans on teaching poetry to kids. This poem is what he calls a “not poem:” Not Poem I am LydiaI am not a baseball batI am not a tuna […]

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>from my work journal (I’m a school librarian, remember?) Dec. 16 I’ve been reading the kids Demi’s new book, The Greatest Thing in the World, which is, according to Demi, life itself. Weapons are not the greatest thing. Beauty is not the greatest thing. Technology is not, money is not. In the book a little girl, observing the lotus plant, realizes that life itself is the greatest thing. I was […]

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>Sister Agatha and Flannery O’Connor

> I went to Sacred Heart Elementary School in Savannah, Georgia, which is the same school that Flannery O’Connor attended. Sister Agatha was my fifth grade teacher, and I like to imagine that she once taught Flannery as well. Sister Agatha told us vivid stories about the torments of Hell. She terrified us, especially Shirley who was Protestant and, even though she was still in elementary school, had a boyfriend […]

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