BACK IN NOVEMBER you may recall, I had the pleasure of sharing my blog with Jeri Walker-Bickett who discussed what she calls "Literary Landscapes." You can read it here.
To reiterate, Jeri summarized how our surroundings can stir our literary creativity. She then illustrated how she used her own familiar landscapes to springboard her first series of short stories, titled Such Is Life.
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Working my way through my vast and unending reading queue, I finally had the opportunity and pleasure to read Jeri's stories. I don't know Jeri personally but her writing seems too gritty and realistic for fiction. It's the kind writing I enjoy--little slices of life with simple people, a conflict but not always a resolution because real life rarely doles out a perfect ending.
I was worried what would happen to Shirley's dog Marty after he chewed up the neighbor's poodle.
I was surprised that things didn't work out for Katrina and John but he probably did the right thing. He really didn't need her toxic drama.
I cringed at the idea of young Julie climbing into a stranger's car and found myself more than a little peeved at her mother's neglect.
And although I'm not a religious person, as a parent I found myself reluctantly agreeing with the parents of Ms. Trip's students who felt that their teacher probably shouldn't be publishing stories about drugs and sex. And I applaud Ms. Trip for pursuing her dream, which is indeed "very important."
My favorite story was "River Walk." Written in first person, it is the narration of a woman on the edge of reality, or maybe on the other side. It is so well-written, so full of sensory details and numbed pain, I'm jealous that I haven't been able to pull off something remotely this good.
"I would like it to rain gumdrops. I would like to be elsewhere. I would like my vices to suffice."
Brilliant stuff you guys, trust me.
Jeri is not only an author and blogger who reviews books and writes about all things literary, she is also a freelance editor.