Alison Clement

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


pizza with the nazis

The neo-Nazis were having pizza too. My French student sat at the table next to the Nazis with her girlfriend and child but she must not read the newspaper or follow local social media because she didn’t seem to know. The neo-Nazis’ pictures are all over the place. They are quite famous in our little town. They remind me of the bikers I hung out with, years ago. The bikers […]

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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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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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when New York said no

When New York said no, I put the manuscript in a box and went on to something else. When I thought of the story at all, it was only to remember the flaws.  The novel is called All the Home I Have, the title taken from a poem by W.E. Aytoun. The earth is all the home I have, The heavens my wide roof-tree. It’s a novel set in Ten […]

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tax man

One day when we lived in the woods  I walked up our drive with the kids and found a man parked in a car looking down at the place where our house set. He was writing something on a clipboard. He was startled when I knocked on his car window. He rolled it down quickly. What are you doing?  “Tax man here.”  I was carrying Sasha, our son, and holding […]

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Ten Mile

When Sam got shot by the SWAT team up Ten Mile, I decided to go ahead and write the Ten Mile book.  I’ve been working on it this summer. I’m supposed to write in my blog at least once a week, according to what I read about blogs, but clearly I don’t do that.  I’m writing about Ten Mile, that beautiful place, and I’m writing about the people there: odd, […]

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$8 isn’t enough

Last week a woman sitting next to me on the train was reading my book. I’ve always wanted this to happen. Last night I was at a party and realized the man I was talking to is the ex-husband of the woman on the train. I’ve been depressed and I think it’s because I’m in school and don’t have a moment for my own thoughts and have only written one […]

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and then she winked

I’m on page 82 of my revision, but I’m not in the mood of the novel. Sometimes I can listen to music and get in a mood that way. Frieda decides to run away from home. What song would it be? On the radio this morning an actor described making a film about the rape of Nanking. He worried because the actresses were required to cry so much and he […]

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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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