“When Beverley got drunk her consonants went to hell, so her response to Jim’s knock on the door sounded like: “Oooisieh?”
“Hey, old lady, it’s me,” Jim yelled.
He heard some banging going on inside the trailer. Beverley hollered, “Waaa, waa, waa you wan?”
“Bev, I just came to visit,” Jim opened the door, pretending that she had invited him in. The smell of the trailer’s interior smacked him in the sinuses: cat pee, mold, unwashed clothing. The front room was dark; Beverly didn’t have electricity. It was cold, too. As Jim crossed the room, skinny cats skittered in all directions.”
That’s the beginning of a story from a collection I just published as an ebook, available through the Kindle Store at Amazon. Most of the stories, one way or the other, are about the limits of responsibility, memory, and the things we leave behind when we die. While fictional, they are derived from my experiences as a care provider for disabled people, my own history, and my involvement in dog rescue.
I feel a little shy about promoting the book here, but I have posted stories on Kos to a receptive audience, so I think some people might be interested. For example, “The One-eyed Woman” and “Arnie’s Last Ride were on the community spotlight for a couple of days a while back. Both are included in my book.
I come late to narrative writing. As a child I loved to tell myself stories. My first stories were serial adventures which I told myself in bed at night. Later I used storytelling to make boring jobs or long-distance driving enjoyable. I never thought about writing any of the stories down until I got involved in a series of dog rescues that turned into a prolonged mediation on the limits of personal responsibility. I did things I didn’t know I could do. I did things I probably shouldn’t have done. And I found out what I could not do.
I also learned a lot about the people who live up the little dirt roads in the forest in the rural county where I have my home, people who get their water from rain barrels, power their DVD players from car batteries, and poop in the woods. Everyone has a story.
My dog rescue experience, played out over a year, taught me a lot about myself. And telling that story, “The Dog Thief”, taught me that I could write. Once writing became part of my self-image, more stories appeared. My book includes a story about my childhood pet rats, my elderly neighbor's last ride on a sled, a visit to a dying friend, and several stories about the people who live out in the woods.
Of course my stories won't appeal to everyone, but I do think they are reasonably well written and will appeal to some Kos readers. Here’s some quotes from Kos people who were kind enough to comment on stories I posted as diaries:
The One-eyed Woman
“…this piece has a quality that I crave and am often disappointed not to find in the books I run across randomly -- I'm not sure how to describe it exactly, except to say that from those few paragraphs, I believe the One-Eyed Woman's actions and reactions. While there's lots more detail that could be filled in, it's not really necessary -- this is like a line drawing that gives a clear enough image of who she is and the experiences she stands on to know that bringing the dog in like this was the only thing she could possibly have done. For me, this makes it the kind of story that lives in me while I'm reading it, rather than just being an account of a bunch of events.” Caroline
"Beautiful and poignant
don't have words for my memories of the mountains, but you gave me yours. Thank you.” Voicemail
“This is wonderful writing! You sucked me in right
from the start and by the end I was completely emotinally invested in your characters.
More please!” Mindara
My book is available for .99 at the Kindle Store on Amazon. The author is Jill Kearney and the title is The Dog Thief and Other Stories. There are six stories and a short novella included. The cover was made by my friend David Mackey.
I hope a few folks will read it. I'm not out to make money, obviously. I'd just like to have some readers who aren't related to me!