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- List of fictional princesses
The one used to drive the Duster.
Our daughters are very good at recognizing makes and models of cars and trucks. They know the difference between Blazers and Broncos without hesitation. My father taught me to drive on deserted vineyard roads. I practiced on his vintage Mustang, and when I swerved on a dusty road to avoid a ground squirrel, he shouted at me for the first time in my life. Dwayne learned on dirt roads, too, in borrowed cars. But when we began dating, he was just sixteen and I was fifteen. We walked for months to parks and burrito places, until his father broke down and bought The Batmobile.
The car was a Cadillac, vintage oxidized brown like faded coffee grounds, with huge fins as if sharks were chaperoning us down the street. Then he told me the story of the car, while we headed to the movies.
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Some guy had been leaning against that car window when he was shot. The bullet pierced the glass; the man fell into the door and the dark stains were reminders of his blood.
He kept asking the father of the murdered man to sell it, and finally the man relented. We never had much money growing up. But we do tell our girls the good-time stories we have, and they all involve cars. My stepfather bought a vintage Mustang from a barn, and the convertible top was gone while a hay bale filled out the missing back seat.
During high school, no one wanted a ride home from me. Where the road narrowed to a bridge, he chickened out. But we both taught our daughter to drive. Her father counseled her to stay out of the bike lane. I reminded her not to drift into the left lane on a right turn. I brought the red Honda home, and she drove with one or the other of us for a few weeks.
I offered to have one put in, but Dwayne said he wanted to take care of it. He got an inexpensive CD player at the local swap meet. When I came home from work that day, Gaila had her first car story. Then he called again. G, bring me some tape. I brought the wrong kind twice. The silver tape and the white tape. He wanted that black one. In our old gravel driveway, I used to sit in the driver seat with my own work, because every few minutes he would ask me to do something.
Rev the engine. Push down on the brake pedal.
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She sighed. You have to write very small, around all the print on those things. I tell my students — whether in college classes, prison workshops, or elementary school presentations — that anyone can write, anywhere, at any time, and I mean it. I bring my legal pads to show them. I have lived in the same house for 22 years, less than a mile from the hospital where I was born and two blocks from the city college where I wrote my very first short story, when I was sixteen, in a lined notebook like the one carried by Harriet the Spy. After that novel was published in , I was 29, and had a baby about to turn two, was pregnant again.
But I worked on my second novel while sitting on the curb, while my first daughter had finally fallen asleep in her stroller. I was hunched over my notebook, the stroller beside me with the brake on, when a car pulled up. A woman offered me money and sympathy, since she thought I was homeless. I knew I looked bad. Tired, wearing old clothes, holding a legal pad. A novel? Just writing, I replied. She shook her head and drove away. This year, I tried to feel sorry for myself — but then I remembered a photograph of Eudora Welty, sitting with perfect posture at her desk in her bedroom in the house where she was born.
I remembered an interview with Raymond Carver, who said that to escape the chaos of his home and family, he often wrote in his car, parked in front of the house. I realized I was a native southern Californian who had spent much of her life in the car. There was an expansive freedom in the windshield, completely different from a house window.
And my middle daughter was most like me — when we pulled up after school, everyone else went inside, but she and I stayed in the car while the sun was lowering, starting homework or just staring at the trees before the others came to get us, puzzled by that small liberty. This year, while I worked on a novel about a travel writer who has never married or had children and who has refused for years to help her orphaned godson, my year-old nephew came to live with me and my three girls.
PERSONAL TOUCH AN IMMIGRANT DOCUMENT Original (PDF)
My nephew, who needed me in the past, and who I was afraid to take in, because it seemed too much. The constant laughter of visiting skateboarders and YouTube drove me to a familiar place — the van — where I wrote about the travel writer, a woman selfish and beautiful, with only coffee in her kitchen, rather than endless stacks of frozen pizza. Would she rescue her godson from the trouble that could get him killed? The lakes and swamps around the outskirts swept the village and the woodlands in a thin webbing of woven mist.
Everything seemed to have been undone by the world, as if it had forced hell to open its mouth and reclaim what it had set loose. Yet the corpse of a young girl swayed lightly in the wind from the branch of a willow outside of town.
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Her eyes had resigned to a milky white, now staring endlessly at the calm sky like two useless marbles. Her skin had grown pale, her lips a bruised and filthy blue reminiscent of winter and harsh upbringings. A slug slid across the landscape of her smooth face, and the tip of her tongue had fallen out between her lips in a blistered black contrast to the grey of her cheeks.
The rope creaked in mellow agony as the corpse swung from side to side. Soon the crows would gather upon the rotting flesh and fill their bellies, singing the tune which had hounded Lucile as she was ripped from her nightmare by the cruel points of newly sharpened shears.
Something had gone horribly wrong in Shallowbrooke.
Deep beneath the coiling, dark shadows of this world and the twisted slither of the next, something ancient had opened an eye. Within the tall grass of the western fields all life had fallen still. The birds of the woods had departed for brighter lands, and the wolves sat covering in the blackness of the night. The door had opened, if only very slightly, and harvest time had come again.
List of fictional princesses
Credit To: Catcid. I am going to start reading The Awakening right after I am done with this review; I cannot wait! When Karen Grace turned fifty, she lost her marriage and her job. With the hard-won confidence of midlife, Karen knows what she needs to do, and pays the heartbreaking price for pursuing her dreams.
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