Musings from a rare life


Working beside the window

Winter meditation

See Blog for stories from 1960s and 1970s

Maybe you actually can judge a book by its cover.

The life of a word picture artist


Collette grew up, or at least attempted to do so, just outside Washington, DC. In that land of varied climate and culture, she learned that successfully surviving winter depended on appropriate attire. On the other hand, coping effectively with the summer heat and humidity required deep breathing techniques and intense concentration on memories of the prior winter because no attire would help.

Her personal history includes making a living by clearing snow, mowing grass, typing fast for extended periods of time, contriving soporific legal documents and fabricating stories for eclectic audiences.

She now resides at the lower edge of what was once known as the Upper South, having previously lived at the upper edge of same. She and only a half dozen other people still living have actually toured the Mason Dixon Line, which is critical to understanding those geographic designations.

Here is a clip from her current endeavor, a book about growing up in farm country twenty minutes from the White House, before "urban sprawl" had a name.

"I was born a poor, European-American child in a small, rural town, in Maryland, 30 minutes from the White House. I take that back--it was really 15 minutes except for when it was rush hour or if there was a peace rally. (The roads were still all open to cars way back then.) My mother, a teen bride, checked her calendar repeatedly but my quest for life overrode her scientific methods and I arrived a healthy 11 months after her wedding. In a hand-me-down stroller, I was taken for walks on the grounds of National Institutes of Health, Rock Creek Park, and sometimes the National Zoo, where I built up immunity to my birth plight that lasted until I was almost finished with high school. There was so much to do for free, how could I tell what my economic status was? At first we lived in a tiny, sooty apartment right smack above the metro station which, actually, had not yet been built or dreamed of. That means I really can't remember where the soot came from. Maybe it was dust from the concrete plant three blocks over. Then again, maybe it was from the old coal furnace in the basement of the building.

"You see, contrary to common belief, I was not truly born in Potomac. Now, a very reliable looking report on the Internet says that my neighbor Darren was born in Potomac. He is the same age as me, which means that there were four possible locations--a mystery house (his subdivision had not been built yet), the Esso gas station, the Potomac Supermarket next to it, or Dunham's garage across the street. I'll double check with him as soon as I see him. But I am definitely sure I myself was not born in that town."

MORE HIGHLIGHTS are available on my "Works" page.

Selected Works

Short Story
A horse farm taken over by developers inside the Capital Beltway is the scene of a story about racism, hypothetical rape, and a memorable friendship.
Highlights from book
Memoirs of the tractor girl
Satire
The benefits and irritations of receiving phone calls while trying to get some work done

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