Alison Clement

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


the opposite of nostalgia

Early in the morning and I can hear the crickets. I can hear birds, but I can’t tell what kind. It’s only August, but already some of the cottonwood trees are losing their leaves. Cottonwood. Soybeans. Early morning, but someone is out walking. I can see their bright green shirt across the lake. Every day the cardinals come and for a few days we saw an Oriole. Rose of Sharon. […]

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mémoire (masculine), a special use of mémoire (feminine) ‘memory’

This is the way I write it: my sister says she doesn’t remember anything about the Cuban Missile Crisis interrupting our family vacation to Texas or whether we still had the turquoise Thunderbird convertible then or not. Why don’t you write about it? One night in a bar Chuck tells friends the story of when we went to Antigua to set up a printing press for the Antigua Caribbean Liberation […]

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I always say Irish

  We arrived on Bloomsday and went to the pub. The sun shining and warm and all the girls were in their summer dresses. There is something automatically familiar about Ireland, although I might be imagining that. I like to say I’m Irish but I’m German, French, English and Scottish, too. Also Dutch. Americans pick their favorite nationalities and claim them. I always say Irish and French.       […]

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Cheese is One Whole Course

I was having a problem with my story.  For one thing it had a terrible title, a title meant to imply that not only was it my character’s last day in Paris, but the final day of her marriage. Which wasn’t the point of the story. The point was not her marriage. It was the man on the bicycle. It was the women at the next table with their elaborate […]

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The Village of Witches

We went looking for a village of witches. We passed a man with a  machete. A donkey. A sign said go back this is an active volcano but nobody went back. People put up signs that said viva el revolultion which we could read even though our Spanish is bad. Masks hung on walls, on fences, and on houses. We passed sugar cane fields. A man walked along the road […]

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Chronology matters.

I used to keep diaries but now I don’t. I have boxes of old journals starting back from when I was eight years old. Now, when I feel like writing in my diary, I think instead I should write for my blog. You cannot post to your blog once a blue moon and hope to keep your readers. Some of my journals are embarrassing and I think I should destroy […]

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March 26 I went into the post office at a place called Seabrook and asked the white man working there if he knew of a town named Seabrook Village where blacks had settled after the war.  And he said, lady, the whole place was settled by black people. We were on St. Helena Island, in SC, one of the Gullah Islands, islands inhabited by ex-slaves from Sierra Leone mostly. On St. […]

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Sacred Heart

March 26, from Charleston, SC I’m eavesdropping on the people at the next table. The woman is telling the man the name of her five pets: Otis, Milo, Lucky, Fritz, Lola. At first I thought she was being interviewed for a job. Now I wonder if this is what an iHarmony type date sounds like. I love southern food. I love the smell and feel of the air. I love […]

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just short of discursive meaning

In DC we went to an atheists rally, but I am not an atheist. It was the biggest atheist rally in history, or something like that. The periphery was lined with people wanting to save our souls, which is something I never understand. I went with Chuck and Maggie. Two atheists whose souls no one should ever worry about. Afterwards, we went to the National Gallery of Art and looked […]

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