Tag Archives: memoir

My Life as a Jag

Need a lift?Hello from the Dogpatch,

Turns out that my neighbors are dizzingly honest. Today I drove my silver Jaguar along the golf course where I live, parked at the cute corner market, left the sun-roof open, took my beautiful canine companion for a walk around the lake, and came back to find my purse undisturbed in the front passenger seat where I had left it. Aren’t my neighbors honest? Doesn’t my life sound idyllic?

It’s all so easy with a turn of a phrase.

Here’s the rewrite: My neighbors are still dizzingly honest. The silver Jag is my little sister’s car that I kept after she killed herself. It’s ten years old, dented in odd places, gets crappy gas mileage, and tends to require costly parts every three months. We call it the ghetto Jag and I will drive it till it drops, or I can no longer afford to fix it. As to why my sis, who for most of her life drove around in cute little Volkswagens, up and bought this huge car, I really can’t say, but somehow it suits that it was the one she went out on. There’s traces of bubblegum, hers, stuck to the steering wheel. Continue reading



Filed under Howling at the moon

Group Writing Critique: BABY KILLER by Laurel Leigh

It’s dogfight time. Laurel Leigh’s BABY KILLER is a memoir about a splintered family grappling with questions about a young man’s guilt or innocence. Getting ready to revise the full manuscript, Laurel has asked us to examine the opening—here’s an excerpt. Dogpatch Writers Collective occasionally posts these excerpts of our group critiques of work in progress, and your comments are welcomed.

From Baby Killer

Anthony Shaw Arrest Picture

Nursey tells me everything she’s learned: Baby Alex had been beaten before. He visibly showed signs of abuse according to the emergency-room doctors. It’s unclear how Alison was or wasn’t involved in abusing him. On the evening of his death, the baby woke up and threw up and peed on Anthony. Nursey isn’t sure whether the vomit provoked the crucial beating or whether it was an aftermath. Anthony and Alison took the baby to the hospital hours later when they realized something was wrong with him.

“An investigator called me,” Nursey tells me.

“You talked to an investigator?”

“She wanted to know what people, you know in the family, had said about Anthony. I told her, ‘I’ll help you but I don’t know everything.’ So I guess I’m working for the prosecution if anything, nailing the coffin in the head.”

At another time my sister’s off way of describing things would make me smile and want to hug her.

Read a longer excerpt at: http://www.laurelleighwriter.com/publications/baby-killer/

Comments from the Dogpatch: Continue reading


Filed under Craft, Dogfight

Potty Head

Hello from Bellingham WA on this windy evening. Which brings me to my topic—not the wind but the worry.

If worrying were an Olympic sport, I’d be caption of the U.S. team. If I listed everything I worry about, this blog would get far longer than Rapunzel’s hair, it would take up too much space, and WordPress might crash. That’s how much I worry. Enough to potentially crash WordPress and make me worry about the poor guy named Ted or something, who has to get up in the middle of the night and fix it. Sorry, Ted.

My itty bitty house is surrounded by 100-foot trees, and when the wind blows through the willows (okay, pine trees), I worry one or more trees will fall on my house. Or on my car. Or on me.

I have CSI-like evidence of the potential for this calamity. Continue reading


Filed under Howling at the moon, Rants