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MacAllister
10-11-2005, 11:08 AM
Okay, here's my essay I rejected. Mostly, I just felt like it missed the target--there's nothing precisely wrong with it, but it didn't quite hit the note I wanted it to hit. I fiddled with it enough to decide it just is what it is. Also, there were so many great pieces coming in, I wanted the space to go to a writer that might otherwise get bumped.

I recycled part of it onto my blog, a few weeks ago--so my apologies, for those of you who've already seen it.


This Abides
MacAllister Stone


Some bright autumn morning, you might decide to lace on your hiking boots and walk. You might cross the horse pasture behind the house, your trail stretching through the wet grass of the pasture behind you, arrowing back the way you came. Perhaps you pause, turn and look over your shoulder at the place where you dwell, pale sun slanting off the windows, the last of the frost glinting from the shaded part of the lawn, protected by the single cottonwood profiled against the sky.

It's an old house. Two stories. Old-fashioned yellow roses beneath the kitchen window with the last blooms of summer fading. Part of it burned in 1939 in a grass fire touched off by a lightning strike...But you only know that because you've been told. The damage has long since been fixed, and years of paint cover any scars.

You push your hands deep in fleece pockets against the cold of the fall morning, and think warm thoughts about the smell of bacon in your kitchen, but walk on. Climb through the barb-wire fence on the edge of the pasture and walk down the hill. There are wagon ruts still carved into the earth, here--grassed over, now, but your feet find the track and follow, unerringly.

At the bottom of the long hill the old track hidden beneath the grass veers sharply right, away from the rim of the coulee. You leave the path, though, and go and stand on the edge looking down. Perhaps deer are still feeding in the canyon bottom, lulled by the cool sunlight. Knowing that winter is surely coming.

Because you've walked there, you know that the long grass in the bottom of the coulee covers the scars of fire rings from a different people, long ago--the stones tumbled, now, but still forming recognizable circles. Lichen covers them, and the grass has grown up all around. It's as if the cold wind came down from the north and the people living there drifted south ahead of the coming winter. They took their children and their dogs and the pieces of their traveling lives, then spring came back without them.

The faintest smell of wood smoke in the clear air tells you one of your neighbors started a fire in his iron stove against the chill of the morning. Perhaps that's why those long-ago fires come to mind now.

At the top of the coulee the good earth falls away beneath your feet. The prairie ends in sandstone cliffs where the coyotes and buffalo dance forever, etched into the stone by hands long since gone back into the sod beneath the long brown grasses and wild roses covered in brilliant red hips; beneath the wild currants and the buck-brush and the prickly-pear cactus which you can eat--if you're hungry enough. This place abides. Through killing winters and drought, caring nothing for who lives here.

Even when you turn back, cheeks flushed, to go home to your coffee and the day--it abides.

sthrnwriter
10-11-2005, 11:51 AM
Beautiful essay, mac. :)

Lady of Prose
10-11-2005, 01:09 PM
Even when you turn back, cheeks flushed, to go home to your coffee and the day--it abides.

It abides. I'm glad Jim dared you. It deserves to be read.

Moondancer
10-11-2005, 02:20 PM
Just lovely... I could picture the place where you walked.

Kim Gogo
10-11-2005, 04:19 PM
That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Mac! It made me long to be there.


kim

Jean Marie
10-11-2005, 04:45 PM
Wow, Mac, I'm very glad you took my dare:) Was it my first dare or the double dare?

Absolutely gorgeous essay.

Sarita
10-11-2005, 04:52 PM
Oh. Wow. Mac. I simply loved this line. It gave me chills. I'm carrying it with me.


They took their children and their dogs and the pieces of their traveling lives, then spring came back without them.

MacAllister
10-11-2005, 04:53 PM
Thanks, folks--you're all very sweet. :)

See what I mean, though? It just sort of misses the strength theme. So while it's very nice, it just wasn't quite right.

I didn't mind rejecting my own essay--but I gotta tell you, Jenna was absolutely right: It was heartbreaking to reject other peeps' stuff. We got some perfectly good pieces, well-written...they just weren't a good fit.

That was definitely the hardest part, for me. I've developed a LOT more sympathy for what editors go through.

rtilryarms
10-11-2005, 05:09 PM
Maybe we want this to be included...hmmmmmm? At least i do.

biotales
10-11-2005, 05:12 PM
Mac I loved the story....

Jean Marie
10-11-2005, 05:46 PM
Okay, now I'm awake:Huh: It was the double dare:) Gotta make the coffee stronger.

I'd read part of it on your blog, Mac, but in its entirety-wow.

Thank you Jenna and Mac soooo much for all your hard work; I'm truly honored:Hail:

Now, will the both of you get off your collective arse's and PLEASE put your work into this book:guns:

CharmianChristie
10-11-2005, 06:19 PM
Thanks for sharing this. It takes a lot of discipline to reject your own piece, especially when it has merit. I hope you find a home for this essay soon.

Charmian

September skies
10-11-2005, 06:38 PM
So vivid. That was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

awatkins
10-11-2005, 06:45 PM
:Hug2:

maestrowork
10-11-2005, 07:16 PM
Quiet strength.

It didn't miss a thing, Mac. Delovely.

Rose colored glasses
10-11-2005, 07:51 PM
Love it! That was a beautiful read, and I so want to be there.

ChunkyC
10-11-2005, 09:18 PM
Loved it, Mac.

KimJo
10-11-2005, 09:23 PM
It's beautiful, Mac! Thank you for sharing with us.

MacAllister
10-11-2005, 09:38 PM
You people rock--you really do. This has been quite the ego-boo...but that's not why I posted the essay. :)

Trust me on this, because I've read every single piece that's going into the anthology--it just is NOT a good fit.

That's NOT to say it isn't a nice piece of writing.

Really, that's why I posted it. It's been eating me up a little, knowing writers, and being a writer myself, and seeing how very emotionally invested people were in participating in this project. More than anything, I wanted anyone I had to reject to realize that, sometimes, it really IS as simple as "I'm so sorry, and thank you--but this doesn't quite fit with the overall theme..." When you get a note like that, it doesn't mean "this sucks" or "you can't write"--and, as writers, I think we have too many of those moments that we're trying to read between the lines.

Hugs and smooches to all of ya, though!!!

rtilryarms
10-11-2005, 11:02 PM
It's better than mine!

maestrowork
10-11-2005, 11:06 PM
OK... confession. Mine sucks. It does fit the theme "strength" (how can it not be when I kept typing "strength" and "strong" in the ms...)... But now you know, mine sucks.

;)

rtilryarms
10-11-2005, 11:58 PM
OK... confession. Mine sucks. It does fit the theme "strength" (how can it not be when I kept typing "strength" and "strong" in the ms...)... But now you know, mine sucks.

Just what we need...one about vacuum cleaners!

Kida Adelyne
10-12-2005, 12:46 AM
Just what we need...one about vacuum cleaners!

:ROFL:

Ray, I'm sure yours is lovely. I trust Mac's judgement, especially when she can write like that.:Hug2:

-Ally

Jean Marie
10-12-2005, 01:59 AM
Just what we need...one about vacuum cleaners!

Who knew: Ray Eurekahttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

Ken Schneider
10-12-2005, 02:19 AM
Jean Marie double-dared me once, but didn't keep her end of the bargin.

Now I have a nude pic of me floating around the net.http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gifhttp://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon10.gif

Jean Marie
10-12-2005, 02:32 AM
Jean Marie double-dared me once, but didn't keep her end of the bargin.

Now I have a nude pic of me floating around the net.http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gifhttp://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon10.gif


Psst! That was a secret-anyone wanna see it?http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/emoticonbanana.gif

maestrowork
10-12-2005, 04:21 AM
Jean Marie double-dared me once, but didn't keep her end of the bargin.

Now I have a nude pic of me floating around the net.http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon7.gifhttp://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon10.gif

See this thread: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20245

AmyDoodle
10-12-2005, 04:27 AM
Ken, You're not thinking of changing your avatar, are you? :)

Vanessa
10-12-2005, 04:44 AM
Mac, you took me there. Like really there. I could envision your trail through memory lane. Quite eloquent. Seems personal. I could feel it.
Very Nice!

I'm so glad I live here with ya'll. 'Cause there's so much talent in this place.
Thanks for sharing, Mac.

Ken Schneider
10-12-2005, 06:19 AM
Ken, You're not thinking of changing your avatar, are you? :)

Why,yes, yes I am. I have no fear of reflective porn ;LOL Ray.

As a matter of fact, the taker of my current avatar took it nude, and with a magnifying glass you can see her in my foil hat.

Sorry, Mac. Your story was great.

Ken

jdkiggins
10-13-2005, 10:09 PM
Mac,
I loved this when I read it in your blog and I still love it.
Very nice piece!