home sick with clementine

I took the day off from work to stay home with Clementine, who’s fighting off a little cold. She’s spent this morning dictating stories to me. She paces around the room, whipping off lines, as I scribble furiously. (When she completes a line she looks at me to make sure I’ve gotten it all, and then, when she’s satisfied that I’ve got it, she starts with the next sentence.) Here’s the most recent one.

One time I saw dirt.
And I ran and jumped in.
And scooped the dirt up.
Then I saw daddy.
Then a bear comes too.
And the bear run away.
I don’t like bears.

So far, they’ve all been about bears. Sometimes the bears come out of the woods, and sometimes they escape from cages at the zoo. Sometimes they are accompanied by ducks. Clementine is always in the story. Invariably either she or the bear runs away. Usually they both run away when they see one another. Quite often she ends the story by saying, “You have to be careful.”

update: Ol’ E Cross sent along his review of Clementine’s fiction: “The opening lines are sparse, tactile and invitingly loutish … Hunter Thompson meets William Faulkner, if you will. But after the introduction of the daddy character, Clementine quickly abandons the garish imagery and elliptic rhythms that were the story’s strength, and opts instead to rattle through the remainder of the narrative like some somnolent schoolteacher doing detention-hour roll call. Don’t tell me you don’t like bears, Clementine, show me you don’t like bears. Show me like you showed me you like dirt. Dive into the bears, tear at their fur, then rub it onto the page until it burns your readers eyes.”

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  1. Dave
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    The bear obviously symbolizes her sublimated fear of her abusive, tyrannical father. Get her into therapy right away. In fact, I’ll offer my services as a former psych major — give you a good discount. Tyrant.

  2. be OH be
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Has she been staying up to watch The Colbert Report?

  3. ol' e cross
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    The opening lines are sparse, tactile and invitingly loutish

  4. ol' e cross
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    As it turns out in our small-world parallel germ universe, I’m staying home with my sick daughter tomorrow. So, I’ll do all my commenting tonight, as my child remains rather jealous of the computer.

    (I should also say, when I made my wife read Clementine’s story, she laughed and for the beauty of it said, “It makes me want to cry.”)


  5. mark
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    OK, I’m moving your review up to the front page, Ol’ E C.

    …And I look forward to the day when I can critique your daughter’s fiction.

  6. ol' e cross
    Posted December 7, 2006 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    You won’t have to wait long. The first chapter of my daughter’s six-part series will be published in the January 2007 issue of Hustler magazine. It’s titled: “Bare Scare.”

    I didn’t know much about Hustler when they approached us with the six figure contract, except that Mark Maynard read it, and that was good enough for me.

  7. mark
    Posted December 8, 2006 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Larry is taking my advice and adding a “Barely Legible” mini-magazine into an upcoming issue of “Barely Legal.” I’ve been telling him for a long time now that he needs to have more content for for kids in there.

  8. kat_m6@yahoo.com
    Posted December 8, 2006 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I was thinking you need to read John Irving to her as I think bears appear in most of his stories – start with Hotel New Hampshire.

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