Alison Clement

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


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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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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Longer than Jesus

         Somebody bought the mountain above Yachats and cut down all the trees. The mountain is what gave the town its name. Ya-chats, an Indian word. At the the foot of the mountain. Not at the foot of the clearcut. People in the laundramat said it was a producer from Los Angeles who did it. The  producer had a fellow who lived up there on the mountain, the caretaker, a […]

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Oregon in the winter

> My mother is in Hawaii and my kids are packing for Mexico. Here the winter sky is gray almost every day. It’s gray and bleak and we live like people buried beneath plastic, like someone has stretched a plastic tarp over our heads and all we can do is wait for it to stop. My kids don’t mind the weather, but they are packing for Mexico. They are buying […]

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>Avoiding the Appearance of Shameless Self Promotion

Regarding the name of my old blog, “Leftedge Suzy.” Okay, my sister says: what the hell does that mean, left edge suzy? She’s from Texas and they are very literal. Also, this is how she said it: wut the hail duz thet me-un? And here is the answer: I don’t want to give the blog my own name because that seems narcissistic, but maybe personal blogs are inherently narcissistic and […]

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>Wordstock, competiton and Margaret Atwood

> This past weekend, I taught a writing workshop for teachers and gave a reading at Portland’s annual book festival, Wordstock—a big, noisy, raucous event. I was lucky to be chosen to read with Cai Emmons from Eugene. I’ve been thinking lately about competition. I’ve been thinking that the worst thing for me, creatively, is when I set myself up next to others, when I scrutinize myself and second guess […]

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>Oregon Book Award

> Last week Literary Arts sent me the list of finalists for The Oregon Book Award. I was reading the nominees to see who was chosen for kids’ books, thinking about the library, you know. Then…hmm…hmm… wonder who they picked for the novel…….. !?me?! What a great surprise.

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>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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>Veterans Against Torture

I’ve been looking for an email address for Salem, Oregon poet, Geronimo Tagatac, so that I could ask permission to publish one of his poems here. Geronimo Tagatac is a poet with more to offer than simply the best name I’ve ever heard. I didn’t find an address for him, but I did find a petition that he signed for a group called Veterans Against Torture. If you’re a veteran, […]

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