I’m away and the blog’s on autopilot. This means reruns. Looking for feedback on that which has none. Criticism. Construction.

From the novel….it’s death and dumplins….

When I was three I began gathering flowers from the mountainside; placing them into open caskets of distant cousins. I ate chicken and dumplings in parlor rooms beside dead uncles of other uncles at least once a month when I was five. During a wake that same year I hid my cousin Dewey’s General Lee Matchbox at the feet of our great grandmother’s sister. She was dead and he never found it.

Death was never new or upsetting. My family was an old one and people had been dying all my life. It was the course of things. People were. Then they were not. Grown ups shied away from children to cry. They hid in bathrooms or basements and came out with hush on their face and said ‘be quiet’ and ‘don’t run’.

Death was never frightening. At its worse, it was only silence and we’ll never see her again – but we never saw her very much anyway.

Grandma said death was angels and lambs and chasing honey and warm biscuits with mason jars full of buttermilk – for those the Lord called home. She didn’t say anything about the ones who died because someone else didn’t want them to live anymore. The women of penny virtue who walked the streets and got spit up by the river. The men who put a gun against their head because life was too hard and they were too weak. Or the boys children sometimes find in the wood because….

Mr Avis, a spirit-whipper-upper at one of the town’s Free Will establishments, said death was the womb, where you’re born all over, onto one side or the other. He and his deacons were black and white with no shades of grey. They preached hallelujah or the fury of God in loud angry voices, like it was their job to scare you half to death and make you glad you were a Baptist.

Grandma, I didn’t understand. She was sugar and spice and a little bit of slaw (’cause slaw was good on everything) and that kind of talk just didn’t make any sense to me.

I ignored Mr Avis because my mother always told me to, and because everyone said he sweat too much for an honest man.

I asked Pa, because he’d know and he’d know right. He came by all his sense the hard way. Like when someone put a pillow over his sister’s face and smothered the life out of her. Or when his daddy stopped living right in front of him, with a bullet and a bang, because he didn’t have the patience to hate himself in the other room. You think and you know more about things when they happen to you. And just about everything had happened to Pa. But whenever I questioned him he never said much. He’d just give me a dollar and go play Amazing Grace on his organ.

So I never really understood. Not until……

All those bodies. In funeral homes and my grandparents’ living room. They were never dead. They were what happened after death had left. When the thing that comes after, had been and gone.

The kid in the crabapple bush wasn’t that way. He wasn’t a body at an all night wake, or someone to write an obituary about. He was dead. I knew it even though he didn’t.

I saw death in a child’s face for the first time in my life, and I understood. It hurt me and scared me and followed me around in a dream…where it lay beneath my bed, dressed in red with one torn eye. A young body over an empty grave full of hands and hell and things I couldn’t see, reaching for me, to pull me into something that wasn’t.

I never grew out of it, because its not the kind of thing you do; and when i got older, I was never sure the thing that tried to swallow me whole as a child was kept away. So I went away….from everything and everyone it followed.

Death became a stranger to me because those caught up in it were strangers.

Until Belle died. Then I had to go. Pa asked me to.

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  • windblownbutterfly
    May 21, 2006 at 19:45



  • hattigrace
    May 21, 2006 at 20:11

    You and Pa, you both done a lot of living.

  • Candy Minx
    May 22, 2006 at 13:25

    Whoa…always a ride when I stop by your writings…well done.

  • Deanna
    May 22, 2006 at 19:30

    Well done, a nice mix of imagery and musing. Might be hard to sustain over a long piece as this is pure narrative and background rather than story movement, but it works well in this form or as an atmospheric start to a story.

  • Bre
    May 22, 2006 at 21:32

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I agree with Deanna that it might be hard to keep up, but I certainly feel very well set-up for what is to come!

  • Lynn
    May 23, 2006 at 0:32

    Buffy, this is really great. This is not my life at all, and usually I am a city girl who wants to read mdern city stuff, but I am loving this.

  • The Phoenix
    May 23, 2006 at 2:15

    Wow…you are such an incredible writer. I love this stuff. I’m SO glad you came by my site. I can’t wait to read more.

  • Trixie
    May 23, 2006 at 5:44


  • Peachy
    May 23, 2006 at 12:08

    i really liked it want more.

  • Heather
    May 23, 2006 at 14:02

    Your writing is absolutely beautiful. I want to read every single post! You are going directly onto my blogroll! Have you published anything? I’d love to have it when you do!

  • anne
    May 23, 2006 at 16:26


  • Clem
    May 23, 2006 at 23:11

    Lovely. So glad I stumbled on you.

  • the oriental queen
    May 24, 2006 at 7:07

    wow it’s great writing!pleasure to read!

  • Wisbo
    May 24, 2006 at 7:45

    moving and inspiring, you give sense to experiences

  • kim
    May 24, 2006 at 11:17

    Very vivid. I felt like I was the narrator. Keep writing I want to know what happens next. I want to know more about this child (girl?). More about her Daddy. More about Belle. I have nothing to read, don’t leave me hanging. I’m so glad you stopped by because now I’ve found something good to read.

  • valiens
    May 26, 2006 at 23:25

    This strikes me as a really good study. Something you’ll cannibalize later, to use as a turn of the screw. It’s a compelling read, and does leave us wanting more. Slipping it into a community of developed characters with a plot that is slow and steady as a steamroller, inevitably leading to we know exactly where and it’s excrutiating, will make it gut and heart wrenching, beyond the poetry of it as it stands now. I agree, I want to see it all made! Encore!

  • shosh
    May 29, 2006 at 1:14

    I don’t know how you followed this up but I don’t think it’s a problem if you can’t keep up the pace or feel of it. Something about makes me think of cobwebs and delicate lace which I think you could easily come in and out of in prose without losing your grip on the reader. Really, really excellent stuff. I feel like the narrator is alone and lonely and scared to love. I don’t know if any of that helps 🙂

  • tremendoustim
    May 31, 2006 at 6:39

    Your writing makes me hungry for more and causes me to swallow hard.

    I enjoy to the max, thank you!!