Monday, April 7, 2014

#atozchallenge: Family & Fiends

2014: A Year In Stories
A twelve-volume anthology published by Pure Slush Books.

Ah, family. The home of our souls.

Where no one judges us, where no one makes demands on us.

"Graduate college!" your parents tell you. "Go get a job and live your life!" Well, plonk, here I am. I've graduated college. I've got a job. What do you want me to do now, authority figures? Give me a map, because without all those demanding voices in my head, I'm a little bit lost.
Isa, by Rachel Ambrose (2014 January Vol. 1)
Going back home, his own tail between his legs. Begging for his old job back. Giving Pa the satisfaction of another I told you so. They say decisions are choices between consequences. Compared to Pa, Milena is a beast he can tame.
The Miracle of Small Things, by Guilie Castillo-Oriard (2014 January Vol. 1)

2014 February Vol. 2

Our parents become our first source of pride...
Pollock purrs on my lap while I ponder. There's a picture of my dad in a Speedo on Facebook. Is this that big a deal? Yes, yes it is, I tell myself. But okay, it really isn't.
Avoidance, by Lynn Beighley

(2014 February Vol. 2)

... And our introduction to the meaning of respect.
"No I don't want you to go." Gus' arm comes up fast to wave off the idea, and Mars flinches. That flinch. The surge of annoyance shooting through Gus requires all his willpower not to turn wave into blow.
Father and Son, by Gay Degani
(2014 March Vol. 3)

They shape our childhoods, give us the blueprint for the adults we'll become.
I had spirit growing up until my da beat the crap out of it. Beat it with a belt. Not a good thing to do to a boy. You turn off a boy's natural spirit, you get a crouching, fearful bag o' bones.
Snakes and Snails, by Susan Tepper (2014 January Vol. 1)
As a child, Edward often pretended Betty was just some loud, mean dog who passed out on their couch or threw up on the dining room table. He also used the soft, sweet-smelling things in his grandmother's apartment for distraction. Wrapped in chiffon, he couldn't hear his mom's slurred insults or the ridicule from townspeople about the "drunk woman who killed her own mother."
Shady Grace, by Jessica McHugh (2014 March Vol. 3)
Her mother withered after he left them. Rachel was six. Her mother never went to college, had never been told she could be someone else, someone great. At least Peter had given Rachel that.
Another Man, by Teresa Burns Gunther (2014 March Vol. 3)

2014 March Vol. 3
Nothing is as cherished as enduring sibling love.
Joey, it's Gina.

Your sister, you smuck. [sic]

I got a sister?

Okay, I get the message. It's been a while.
La Ronde / Gina and Joey, by Townsend Walker (2014 February Vol. 2)

What joy, indeed, can match the wonder of starting our own family?
I listen to their footsteps crunch down the drive, their voices loud and bright again. I wonder about how I have become the interloper, even while I do bring home the large checks that pay for the house and the cars and the food and the private schools and the trips to Disney.
First Inning, by Michael Webb (2014 January Vol. 1)

Not even death is enough to break the bond of family.
"Now, Father, I'm after seeing my own Mammy these past nights. Didn't she only appear to me as if she was an angel from Heaven?"
"Was it a dream you were having?" the priest asks.

"Father, as God's my witness, she fluttered her wings and shook her tail feathers at me from the bedstead."

Making Music, by James Claffey (2014 January Vol. 1)
2014 April Vol. 4
Not even our death.
I try to box his mum Doreen's ears--I know she never cared for me back then or even now--but my damn hands pass right through her head like a vapour and my arms just wrap around myself and pass through me as well.
Twelve Days Old, by Kimberlee Smith (2014 January Vol. 1)

No, there is no deeper connection than family.
Maybe he wants a father back. Maybe we can do things together. Some fathers fly a kite with their sons. We never did that. Maybe we can fly together, spread our wings, father and son.
Talk to me, Adam. Talk to me, son.

I am sorry.

Freak's Father, by Andrew Stancek (2014 February Vol. 2)
~ * ~

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” 

Which is why unhappy families--fiendish families--are so very, very good for fiction. Do you agree?

Thanks for the visit, and happy A-to-Z-ing!

[Loved these snippets? Volumes January through June are available in both print and e-formats.]
January, February, and March have a 20% discount.
Free shipping (until April 10) with code FM303


  1. "decisions are choices between consequences." - This is wonderful! Lot to ponder upon....

    Beauty Interprets, Expresses, Manifests the Eternal

  2. Oh yes, they are superb for fiction, probably because it makes us feel a little bit better about our imperfect families! I am really lucky to have wonderful relationships with both my own family and my in-laws :)

    Teaching English with Mr. Duncan
    A-Z of hotels

    1. You are indeed, Duncan :) Thanks for the visit!

  3. the one with Gina's sister is my favorite :D lovely collection of quotes.

    1. Glad you liked them, Rajlakshmi! I love that one with Gina, too :)

  4. I loved the way you wrote this blog--with your comments and examples. So lovely!

    1. Thanks, Linda! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)

  5. What a fabulous collection. Some really moving - Snakes and Snails, Freak's Father! And so true what Rachel has written in Isa! :)

    1. It is, Aditi--some really extraordinary writing here. Thanks for visiting, and I'm so happy you liked these snippets.

  6. It is funny how the ones that are supposed to nurture us can at times be our biggest determent.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

  7. I have a slightly challenging family, to put it in a more charming way...character building, I hope!
    Of course living 5000 miles makes it much better, when we do get together on any occasion.
    On the A to Z Challenge Maggie@expatbrazil.

  8. Avoidance by Lynn and Isa by Rachel Ambrose... totally identifiable :-D


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