Sarah Wrote That

Apples Horses Brides

route9litmag:

[first appeared in Parcel]

by Sarah Malone

By August I could only sleep at steep angles, midday, when the town dozed off for blocks. The window fan helicoptered me to a grass hut, and reporters in flak jackets filed the evening news from the high school lab where Dennis and I had met. Our teacher bent over me, horn-rimmed, tortoise-shelled, and I didn’t know what I had done.

In the morning when Dennis woke beside me I had been knotted awake for hours. Buses creaked toward Schenectady and the triplicate perfume of invoices he’d said I never had to fingernail apart again. None of the names we liked—Lisa, Peter, Jennifer, Michael, Paul, Christine—belonged to anyone.

“How about Chet?” Dennis called from the kitchen. I heard him: verse, refrain, bridge, proud Mary keep on boiling—boiling. He peered around the doorframe, his moustache a drooped grin.

“You goose,” I said.

“I’m singing you the perfect egg.”

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I’m so pleased to have this story in Route 9's Alumni Omnibus issue alongside so many others.

[a bit of this story’s evolution]

Last Snow

All day we’d made sure to be ready. Those who believed in umbrellas in snow leaned tightly fastened umbrellas against their desks, and those already irked by the hat hair the forecast gave them an eighty percent chance of having by dinner time tripped over the umbrellas and handed them to their owners, saying, “You do know it’s snow, not rain?” In hallway conversations we were “much winter” and “not very March” to those we regularly volleyed references with, and though we would be the first to call our jokes lame and done, so done if questioned, so was winter, lame, and done, so done, except it wasn’t.

“So glad this is the last snow of the season,” Mindy said, and her supervisor said, “Right?” That was in the ten AM editorial meeting in the eighth floor conference room, which Mindy had to excuse herself from for a meeting with the Ad Sales director who was on fourteen and wouldn’t have heard Mindy’s line yet, and never would hear it from Editorial, who he’d only communicated with by email since Editorial had gotten the retina displays they claimed they needed. As though the Ad Sales director’s CPMs were easy on the eye!  “The nice thing is, after today we’ll have no more storms,” Mindy said, mixing it up a little. The Ad Sales director Could. Not. Wait.

Downstairs, smokers shivered, and when Mindy went out to bring back lunch she thought soup because the next week, when the air would be sweet with earth that things were growing in she would not want soup in the way she wanted to sip warmth and think of snow faltering past the window of some office with a window.

At three o’clock there was still the pre-snow damp and featureless overcast, and it was March and the light didn’t tip toward dusk until we were snapping our parkas, pushing useless umbrellas into bags they fit no better than they ever had, forgetting hats, somewhere dropping one glove, and God knows not going back into the building to not find the glove and get caught when the snow began after all. “At least after this storm, you won’t need gloves,” Mindy said, and, “I can never get a pair of gloves through the winter.” She couldn’t have said how exaggerated that might have been. But better to be someone who lost gloves, so the stranger in the elevator could go into the bright evening with the thought of having lost only the one.

The file creation date on the original of the draft I’m editing and that was my MFA thesis is two years ago today (disorienting, having such exact information about something that remains very fluid). I cut this chapter and made it a separate story almost as soon as writing it, and none of its characters remain in the manuscript. But it got me past the paralyzing fear that I would discover too late—for the MFA, anyway—that my idea didn’t have a book in it.

The file creation date on the original of the draft I’m editing and that was my MFA thesis is two years ago today (disorienting, having such exact information about something that remains very fluid). I cut this chapter and made it a separate story almost as soon as writing it, and none of its characters remain in the manuscript. But it got me past the paralyzing fear that I would discover too late—for the MFA, anyway—that my idea didn’t have a book in it.

Weather Report à la Adler

In the matter of the wind, tonight we are all in it. Some of us are forever talking about the trouble with our hair. Some find trouble less trouble than none. I believe by spring we will miss it all. In Boston, the consultant said, I have to drive all the way and still the snow is not cleared. All the way he thinks how impressed we are by his fortitude. What impressed us was the snow. What worried us was the failure of predictions.

The Best Kind of Mistake

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photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images in The Atlantic

Our friendship was extremely convenient to major transportation, I said, and Vicky laughed, and immediately we had that, the line, and that we seemed to appreciate it equally, as a joke, and didn’t care that it was true. Her evening proofreading shift began at my preferred train’s departure time. So we had that, too, she said. Jostled between men in sweaty-backed shirts in a narrow bar on Forty-fourth Street, we’d hurriedly decided on an overly flowery white wine and were bent close over small glasses.

“The best kind of mistake,” she said. “Twenty minutes and it’s done.”

“How will that work, with the proofreading?” I asked.

“It’ll have to work, won’t it?” she said.

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MFA Thesis, Defended

Committee Member:So, except for ______ and ____, these [characters] are all terrible people.
Me:Yeah, pretty much.
It’s done! 75,781 words, 309 pages double spaced in 12 pt Baskerville (because, you know—trusty!)
I want to sleep for a month…

It’s done! 75,781 words, 309 pages double spaced in 12 pt Baskerville (because, you know—trusty!)

I want to sleep for a month…

Novel revisions with stout and Hurricane Sandy.
We’re getting house-shaking gusts and are under a town-wide state of emergency, with the kind of intermittent power hits that make me think branches are on a wire somewhere, but the sky is brighter than it was for most of last week’s glum calm. I’ve definitely been in much stronger winds, but never at such a distance from the brunt of the storm.

Novel revisions with stout and Hurricane Sandy.

We’re getting house-shaking gusts and are under a town-wide state of emergency, with the kind of intermittent power hits that make me think branches are on a wire somewhere, but the sky is brighter than it was for most of last week’s glum calm. I’ve definitely been in much stronger winds, but never at such a distance from the brunt of the storm.

Bridal Discount

Finger Lakes + Mohonk Mtn House

I have a story in The Collagist #36:

The bride said the wine was paid for so we might as well stay—me and Trevor and Juan, who’d driven me up from the city, and a man with no jacket whose name I’d heard as Rich. We thudded into the deep carpet lobby, more lounge than lobby, the bride said, clasping her hands behind the groom’s neck, bouncing in his arms, her shoes slapping unsteady time into the air. Rich set four bottles on a small table. Two armchairs and a small sofa were drawn up. Outside, the DJ was walking his speakers to his car and snow was blowing through the lights and the pines.

"See?" the bride said. "There’s no going anywhere now."

"It’s good wine," Trevor said.

"Why not," I said.

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[photo: Glenora, NY + Mohonk Mountain House]