Alison Clement

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

poverty

targeted for elimination

  I wrote a novel based on eugenics, but my agent didn’t like it. Once she didn’t like it, I found that I didn’t either. I thought the backstory was more interesting than the front story. I thought the whole section that takes place when the protagonist lives with a male prostitute in New York City was just an excuse for me to write about when I lived with a […]

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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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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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Inmates

It’s Sunday, poetry day. This is from Sara Backer. INMATES I heard there was a fat skunk, all white, who waddled in the yard followed by two kits the men called babies. I heard about a pair of chipmunks and raccoons that hung around the kitchen. A hummingbird appeared one morning, a gray-tailed hawk at noon, and at night, feeding on mosquitoes, bats carved dark curves in the darker sky. […]

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too poor to be smart

Sometimes people have complained that my characters who are working class are too smart to be working class. This complaint illustrates the very same class bias that I was hoping to illuminate. It made me wonder if I had failed. Also a woman whose husband cheated on her wrote me a heartfelt letter saying that my book completely expressed how she felt. Which made me grateful  but sad. A man […]

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