novel excerpt

from The Patience of Rivers

The business was always there. It grew over their family like a big tree, casting its shadow on everything they did. It was there when Nick Lauria and his sisters needed jobs during the summer of 1969, the summer of Woodstock and the moon landing and too many boys dead in Vietnam. It was there when Nick’s mother confronted her husband’s business partner and changed their lives forever. And it was there even when it was no longer there, when it had finally slipped from their grasp and landed in the hands of someone outside the family.

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novel excerpt

from Suburban Guerrillas

The same summer the purple finches nested on the front porch, Ray and Marisse Vann started driving around town naked. It started over dinner one Friday evening. As they spoke of the small events of the day—Ray had gotten a new graphics program for his computer, Marisse had lunched with Tina—Ray told Marisse of something unusual he had seen on his way to work.

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novel excerpt

"Dreaming the River"

The water ran black between the boats, and doilies of foam floated past as the teams backpaddled to stay behind Vern Lefevre’s outstretched arm.

“Standard canoes back off the racers,” Vern called. “Standard canoes one boat length behind the racers, please!”

Nick kept a steady backpressure on his paddle and feathered it in the water. His stomach was so tight he thought he’d puke if he didn’t start paddling soon. Puke up a damn big rock, right through the hull of the canoe.

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novel excerpt

"A Glimpse of the Moon"

On the Wild Turkey’s snowy television screen, Neil Armstrong’s left foot touched the surface of the moon.

“That’s one small step for man,” Armstrong said, “one giant leap for mankind.”

Nick and the others at the bar raised their beers and cheered. “And that’s one dude who really knows how to get out of town,” Darlene said.

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short fiction

"King of the Straight and Narrow"

Thursday afternoon and Ed Jacques had his big Mack running a straight seventy along the Mass Pike. The trailer was empty. He had just dropped a load of copier paper at General Electric in Albany, and now he was headed home. With the trailer empty, he could roll along no sweat, make the hills without downshifting.

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personal essay

"Woodstock Site Notes: A Sense of One' s Place"

Saturday, August 16, 1997 — I ride my mountain bike to the Woodstock site. It’s six miles from my house. A very hot day, but enjoyable riding—all back roads, winding through open farmland and cool woods. There is no traffic, and except for one sparse yard sale, no people stir in their lawns and homesteads. I have the rolling hills of western Sullivan County to myself.

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personal essay

"Crossing the Millennia in the Upper Delaware Valley"

We scrambled up the dark mountainside as best we could. I jittered the flashlight ahead so I could grab the next bare sapling, then swung the beam around so Elise could catch a rock outcrop with her boot. The ascent from the railroad tracks was steep, the night still. Cold, but not too cold. No moon, but a skyful of stars and the occasional light from a house across the river. We panted as we climbed. Our frozen breath hung in clouds.

It was the last hour of the twentieth century, and we wanted front-row seats for the turning of the millennium.

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