Stories That Fit My Hands

Rebecca McClanahan is the author of ten books, most recently The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change (Indiana University Press, 2013) and a revised edition of Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively (Writer’s Digest Books, 2014). Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, and The Sun, and in anthologies published by Doubleday, Norton, Putnam, Penguin, Beacon, St. Martin’s, and numerous others.

Harm’s Way

1.

For years I said nothing.

Silent, I paid close attention to the words that others used.

I heard writers of nonfiction quote the opening sentence of Joan Didion’s essay “The White Album”: “We tell ourselves stories in order to …

Karen Hays received her BS in Geology from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and her MS in Hydrogeology from the University of Minnesota. In 2001, she left her career in the earth sciences to turn her attention to raising a family. A Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award recipient, her essays are idiosyncratic and far-reaching and have appeared in the Iowa Review, Conjunctions, Passages North, and the Normal School. She has received the Iowa Review Award for Nonfiction and her essay, “The Clockwise Detorsion of Snails,” was a “Notable Nonrequired Reading” in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. She now lives with her family on California’s Monterey Peninsula. 

Epithalamion

 

When I was a girl in Wisconsin, I dreamed I ’d marry

a man from Michigan. Then I did. When I was a man

from Michigan, I dreamed I ’d marry a begonia,

flowers choked with pollen. When I

Rebecca Lehmann is the author of the poetry collection Between the Crackups (Salt, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Ploughshares, Tin House, Fence, and other journals. She lives in South Bend, Indiana, where she is an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Mary’s College.