"The Tree Cutter" at RedLemona.de
I’m extra excited because it’s a story that really hope you’ll read. And that scares me, because it’s a story that is completely true. Except for the fact that it never happened. This story is, at its core, all real experiences, emotions, and characters, and settings. It is, at its core, a memoir of my experience of my adult relationship with my father, his land, and our place in it.
With one hitch: All this takes place in story that never happened.
That’s the hybrid part, I guess. This story is an memoir written about an alternative present.
Here’s a sample:
When I came back to the front yard to carry on with the clean up my father had not moved, except to turn 180-degrees from the tree and stare wistfully up the hill again.
“I’m not sure why I stay here,” he said.
It was kind of a strange bomb to drop, given the fact that my daughter and I had stopped here on our way to our home a few days ago to escape the rain. And we’d been evacuated to the basement as the weather worsened. I tried to smile it off. My wife might have asked a question like that, I guess, because she had moved around her whole life, but my dad always seemed permanently rooted to his land. For me, stopping at my dad’s little valley to ride out the latest crisis was something of a habit. The crisis of the westward storm was only the most recent of the string of financial, emotional or vehicular storms I’d weathered in my parent’s valley.
“It’s good land,” I said, peaking at the swamped garden. “You’ve worked hard.”
He was swaying a little on his feet. His gristled back, baked a cinnamon brown from years of shirtless Augusts tending his plants and garden, twitched and pulsed as he swayed.
It’s a challenging and dangerous thing, to write about who you really are so brazenly. I do not envy memoir writers, theres is a truth-speaking that cannot be on spoke. But, I do think this is a good story, and I intend to honor the dreams that inspired it by helping it to find publication.
You can read the whole submission (and comment and and make suggestions, revisions, and etc) over at Red Lemonade’s Hybrid Bestiary.
The story is called “The Tree Cutter.” There really is a teepee in my dad’s backyard. There really are gigantic supercattle up the hill from him. I have no idea if it is safe to drink the water there anymore, but I do anyway. I really slept on a VW microbus in the summers. That bus is still parked there. Seriously: Read the story.
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