Parkerauthorphoto1As we speak, so to speak, your teenage daughter is sitting across from you at your 1950s yellow Formica table. Your cat, having just eaten, is at your feet mewing loudly in search of a lap. Your daughter shushes him without even looking up from the screen on her phone, which is playing a video. The cat leaps onto the table and nestles his head against your daughter’s hair and sweatshirt, trying to get her warmth or attention. Suddenly the phone rings (i.e., Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” plays), and your daughter answers: “Hey Haley, I’m going to take you downstairs.” And exits for the basement to review the American History notes that she just sent Haley as a series of text photos. Would this be the same daughter who inspired the character of “The Daughter” in Liliane’s Balcony?

You could say that. She was with me on my first visit to Fallingwater.

LBalconyBy 1933 the painting is more or less forgotten.

A mad man is rising to power in Germany.

Junior is on his way home to the U.S.

An aging architect of some former renown has no clients or prospects.

And Liliane’s husband has embarrassed her further by paying thousands of dollars to a competing department store (it is this fact that makes her feel most betrayed) to lavish jewels on his most recent conquest.

DSC07794So your couplet of novellas from Dzanc Books, Could You Be With Her Now, is about (1) the first-person point-of-view of a developmentally disabled boy who mistakenly kills a neighborhood girl on whom he has crush; and (2) a May-December romance between two women. Not gunning for The Notebook crowd with these, huh?

I’m just hoping my mother reads the back cover before she buys copies for her friends as Christmas presents. I feel like we’ve gone through this awkwardness before with my writing.

 

Seriously, why?

Why do I write? Why do I write commercially unsuccessful fiction? I don’t think you choose what you get to write. For better or for worse, it chooses you.

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Alice would come shortly. Sandra waited in the breakfast room, wiping her fingerprints off the laptop, her crumbs off the table. She had chosen slacks because it was not quite warm yet and her legs were pale, freckled with brown.

The blog was Andrea’s idea. A blog for Beatrice and Elvin to read about their grandmother before she grew cotton for brains and peed her pants. No, she did not have Alzheimer’s, she would assure Alice. But she was at the age where anything could happen. Jack was not at that age and it had already happened, and it had happened to many of her acquaintances already. One must be prepared.

The memoir pleased her. She had always written, she would tell Alice, here and there when Andrea was born and Jack was still alive.

The blog did not. An idea from a magazine, surely¾her daughter’s entire life was molded by Women’s Day and Better Homes and Gardens. How to baste a turkey. How to have better sex. How to not feel guilty about being a failure.