WIP

SCREENPLAYS:

THE UNDESIRABLES

A naïve young graduate in social work sent to become a field investigator for eugenics zealots in 1924 confronts their quest to eliminate “defectives” from the American blood stream.

(Dramatization inspired by historical activities of the American Eugenics Association in the 1920s)

Genre: Historical Fiction Drama, 99 pgs

REVERSE THE CURSE

A Chicago sports reporter is used to losing—his leg, his job, his MLB dreams—but when a werewolf bites him in the ass, he sets out to change destiny.

Genre: Comedy/Horror, 93 pgs

NOVEL:

WHEN THE WIND BLOWS COLD 

“If you take us somewhere else, we lose our character, our history–maybe our soul.”

 ~ Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

A sensitive North Dakota tomboy has more to fear than the onset of the Depression with its grasshoppers, cyclones, and ghosts: she’s afraid of becoming her mother.

SYNOPSIS:

In the dead of December in 1931 on a North Dakota farm, fourteen-year-old MAGGIE hears MOTHER’s voice, uncertain if it’s memory or ghost. Maggie relives the events leading up to Mother’s witting death, beginning with the previous May when North Dakota—its extremes, its drudgery, its losses—became too much for any sane person, let alone the discontent. What Maggie has yet to learn is when faced with adversity why some people survive, or consider it a gift that strengthens the spine, while others give up the ghost.

Maggie always thought she was a disappointment to Mother. Her homely nature a desilvering of Mother’s mirror image. She figured she was just another prairie adversity her mother’s New-England born soul struggled to endure too far from her roots. Maggie had almost convinced herself Mother’s tolerance was an indication of maternal love until Mother began whispering to the ghosts, her sanity teetering on a straight edge razor and the nape of Maggie’s soiled neck was nearest to the blade.

Maggie becomes watchful of Mother, whose temperament rocks like an unanchored boat during year’s seasons of drought and storms, of infestation and Depression, of birth and death. She does her best to avoid becoming someone she dreads: Mother. Maggie finds nurturing solace in Aunt Ava, Mother’s fragile, childless cousin. She discovers a mentor in Uncle Bob, Father’s three-fingered brother who becomes her North Star to the landscape, of those living or dead. She becomes a protector of her own brother, and she finds companionship in her pet pig, Missy.

Maggie inherits domestic responsibilities when her beloved Aunt Ava leaves and Mother miscarries. She inadvertently assumes the persona she resisted, of becoming like someone she dreads: Mother. She gains confidence in her role reversal until Mother is back on her feet and they are side by side on canning day, Mother whispering to Maggie that those are her pet pig’s feet she’s pickling.

Maggie’s spirit is wounded. She struggles with her sense of self, her sense of belonging. She doesn’t know if she is her own person or if Mother’s New England roots have her in a stranglehold. But when she escapes an attack by Uncle Bob’s farmhand under the cover of a sheet in a snowstorm and loses three toes to frostbite, Maggie realizes that she is stronger than she thought. This is what she is grateful for by Thanksgiving, while Mother’s kitchen table proclamation is for mercy, mercy she grants herself in the form of poison.

Now, with the cold winds of December screaming like a banshee to get inside, Maggie gains some understanding of the similarity between the prairie ghosts, Mother, and her: Certain souls are rooted to the landscape of their birth, unable to find peace elsewhere in life, or death. In this, she is her mother’s daughter.

MEMOIR:

BENEATH THE SURFACE OF NORMAL: A MEMOIR IN POETRY

A mother’s journey with her non-verbal daughter shared in poetic rhythms.

SAMPLE – 

RED WAGON SOLDIERS

Automated transports let in, drop off, pick up

Red wagon soldiers roll, one by one

Past disembodied echoes from plastic playgrounds

Down sterile paths of florescent tunnels

Red wagon soldiers flanked

By shell-shocked parents wheeling

IV poles, careful to keep connected

The half-full dangling drip of solution

Shoes squeaking under the weight

Of red wagon soldier’s survival

Packs on their backs: Diapers, bottles,

Snacks, carrying paper-cut admission

To Laboratory, to Neurology, to Radiology

To hard laboring machines rasping

Secrets, decoding mysteries living

In the skin of red wagon soldiers

Needles, incisions, intensive, cares

Holding close to their chests badges

Of Red Wagon Soldier Bravery —

Courage stuffed into bunnies and bears.

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