Alison Clement

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

writing

half the size of Utah

I wrote almost every day.  I was busy. I had children and a day job and we always had money trouble, and that takes a lot time. I wrote through money trouble and moves and kids and fights and deaths. I was not disciplined. I wrote because I love to write. Because it is fun, because it is deeply strangely satisfying, because I want to.  I wrote novels and short […]

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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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my mother and virgina woolf

It’s Saturday and I’m reading  Virginia Woolf. About five minutes ago, I received an email from my mother. It is made up of two sentences:  “I lost her address and I want to thank her for the Xmas card. Sun is pretty on the snow and I see 2 cardinals in the tree.” This tendency of my mother to start in the middle of a conversation used to drive me […]

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the secretive mind

At Kim Stafford’s poetry workshop I accidentally wrote a poem that told a secret even though I wasn’t thinking of the secret and when it came time to share what we had written I read something else. Is this what poems do—make you say things you want to keep hidden? It is ok to keep some things hidden which just means private as long as you know what they are. […]

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the short story

I thought of a short story last night while I did the dishes and it was all whole in my mind but then I worked on math, watched an episode of Twin Peaks, drank a glass of wine, read a little of Henry James and went to sleep and now I haven’t the slightest idea about that story, even though, at the  time, is was complete in my mind.

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why is a feel oyster an egg stir

First of all, I don’t like Gertrude Stein’s writing. Conceptually what she is doing might be interesting, and I appreciate the fact that she was brave and that she wrote what she wanted to write even if she had to publish it herself, but her writing is awful to read. I was sitting in the train station this morning reading Tender Buttons and a young man was pacing up and […]

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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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