Chapter Three Goes Along

I’m sorry to say there’s not yet any lesbian love scenes. But there is a little hint of preacher’s-wife/water-fowl sex:

I had two dreams when I lived there that I still remember now. Maybe calling them dreams is not right. I had two things happen there that stick with me, thirty years later.

One is the night when I was trying to get to sleep and I saw eyes all around me, everywhere in the dark. I rushed into my parents’ bedroom and I was crying and I woke my mom up and I told her, “There are witches in the dark, watching me. I can hear them like birds, flapping their wings. I can see their eyes.”

And she said, “But they’re kind eyes, Hannah. They have kind eyes.”

And I went back into my room and I saw that they did.

I asked my mom about that recently and she said she didn’t remember that at all.

The other is that I once had a dream that I floated up out of my bed and slowly floated down the stairs and then around the downstairs, like I was almost slowly swimming through the air, my arms making large, slow circles in front of me.

In the morning, my mom found me curled up at the bottom of the stairs.

“I think that was the only time you ever sleepwalked,” she said to me, when I asked her about that.

“Do you think it’s possible that I actually flew?” I asked her.

“It would explain so much,” she said, “Wouldn’t it?”

“What do you mean?”

“This. That this is not something new, but something that was always with you.”

“So, you think it’s really happening?” I asked. We were sitting at her kitchen table. She turned her face from me.

“You’re going to think this is crazy,” she said, “But all your life, I wondered if you weren’t an angel.”

“Ma,” I shook my head. “Come on.”

“No, I know,” she said, “But sometimes, I’d think I saw that your shadow had wings. Even when you were very young. I thought there was something birdlike about you.”

“Why do you think that was?” I asked.

“Well, don’t tell your father, but before you were born, I met a swan who swore he was Zeus…”

“Funny, ma, funny,” but come on. It was.

Hilariously Poor Pitches

I just got an email that says, “As a writer, I’m sure you’ve had days where you’ve wondered what’s most on the minds of your readers.” I don’t know if this makes me a terrible writer or what, but I can safely say I have never once wondered what’s most on the minds of my readers.

Maybe it’s just because I have this idea of y’all as being uniformly smart and interesting, but I just figure y’all have yourselves taken care of and that it’s not my job as a writer to tell you about yourselves.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but that struck me as funny.

I thought nothing could be worse than not finishing Chapter 2, but I have to say, being finished with Chapter 2 is worse. I’m worried these first two chapters are going to seem really strange and out of place when I suddenly switch to focusing more on Midwestern church stuff, but part of what I’m trying to get at, too, is that she lives in a society completely set up to help her through this. As religious as the South is, it’s actually a good place for a Christian to go through a crisis of faith that doesn’t involve a disbelief in God, because you can talk to people about it. Religion’s not an inappropriate topic of conversation. And, in the narrator’s case, she happens to fall in with people who know immediately what’s happening to her and can send her to people who’ve experienced the same things.

And yet, it doesn’t really help her.

So, then we turn to the meat of the story. But is it fair to ask folks to sit through two chapters of side-dish before we get to the meat? Would I feel less anxious if I just made it one chapter? Maybe.

And then, what do I have to say for the rest of the book? I just don’t even know.


And people want to know if I sit around wondering what’s on my readers’ minds. Shit, I can’t even figure out what’s on my mind.

It Happened in My Eye

I have bad eyesight. Now, I know, some of you are saying “No, I have bad eyesight.” Fine. I’m sure you do. In a new place, I walk the route between my bed at the toilet at least twice before I take my contacts out because I know I’ll have to do that walk at some point without being able to see where I’m going. Or to put it another way, if I were to try to read something with just my normal eyes, it has to be as close to my face as the width of my hand.

So, I wear hard contacts. I hear about these marvelous soft contacts, but I have never been able to wear them because my contacts are not about “Oh, light, let me bend you just a little and focus you where I want you,” but about wrestling light to the ground like an unruly calf, hog tying it, throwing it in the back of the pick-up truck, driving it back to the other pasture, and then letting its mom tell it a thing or two about wandering off, before letting it into my eye. Seriously, my carbon footprint just from the constant commuting in a very tiny truck my contacts have to metaphorically do is off the charts.

And so, just now, I put my right contact in, which is the first one I always put in. And something is very wrong. There’s this weird, painful pinching and it’s not where it’s supposed to be and I can’t even feel it someplace else for the noise of the pinching.

It’s terrible.

But I have to remain calm and put my other contact in, right? Because I can’t see what the hell is going wrong with my right eye if I can’t see out of my left eye. And so, even with the weird pinching sensation, I stay calm and I get the left contact in.

I look around my eyeball for the right contact. I don’t see it. But my eye is already bloodshot as hell and I see my eyelid looks weird. And so, I lift up my eyelid just a hair and what is sitting there, between the eyelid and my eye upside down?! People, it was curved towards me.

I start reflexively whispering, oh my god, oh fucking god. Because how am I going to get it out. It’s trapped between my eyelid and my eye, suctioned to my fucking eyelid. I am quite possibly dying. I’m trying to imagine how to explain to the Butcher that he’s just going to have to hold me down and pry my eyelid open and pluck that fucker out with tweezers. I’m imagining fucking tweezers IN MY EYE.

My eyes are watering like there’s no tomorrow.

And I pull open my eyelid one more time to look at it and I don’t know how or why, but it just slid forward and floosh out onto my cheek.

And so I put it in correctly and everything’s fine.

But holy shit.