Today I learned from the fine editors at december magazine that my short story "Family, Family" has been chosen as a finalist in this year's Curt Johnson Prose Awards. Winners will be announced later this month. It's hard to type with my fingers crossed so hard, but I'm trying.
Lots of you know my daughter Sophie is a writer and also a crackerjack critical reader for my work in progress (I am so lucky). But did you also know which historic ocean liner was even bigger and faster than the Titanic? The SS United States (now docked in Philly), which was saved from being scrapped thanks to the nonprofit SS United States Conservancy. And you know who just accepted a gig as staff writer/communications associate with the Conservancy? Why, Sophie, of course! We never predicted that childhood immersion in transportation lore and disaster, from the (rather dusty) regional Titanic historical society meetings back when she was an intrepid elementary-schooler, to the years poring over the Amelia Earhart mystery, to the endless loops of that old cassette, Stories of Lake Superior Shipwrecks, Volume 1, narrated by professor emeritus Fred Wolff, would circle back this way, but here we are. Ship ahoy, Sophie! Good writing gigs are hard to come by, and we're so happy for you!
Another thing: After four days alone with Sophie, then dragging my feet at leaving despite a flight to catch, I had to speed across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont at 85 miles an hour with a blackbird trapped in my throat. Apart is something you get used to, until it ends. Then, togetherness magnifies the missing. Absence, on its return, wings into you with a swiftness and a hunger unexplained in this bird who has already swallowed the world.
A Poem by Annie White
I wish words would spill out of me
perfectly formed like a bouquet of spring flowers
I wish my sentences would weave
webs of wonder
I wish my paragraphs would grow into stories
complete and full of wisdom.
the words fall out of me
sloppy and unpredictable
I put them on the page anyway