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Albino (part one)

I began writing Albino two million years ago. I had an editor then, who lived a few blocks away. We would meet for breakfast on Avenue A, quietly forking into home fries as we discussed the structure of the story - the economy of objects. A dollar bill was not just a dollar bill in this story, it was connected to thought and action, to music and transformation. This was the story that told me there was a whole book to dig into, mining for diamonds in the backwaters of America, turning over the ugliest rocks to better understand relationships between fathers and sons.

Last week, I stumbled across a call for submissions - not for a journal, but for a podcast where the work of new writers was read aloud. I thought back to a reading I had done of just the first few pages of Albino - a messy hero's journey,  a young man and a guitar, a man with loss and regret, a man that still had something to lose. That reading went well, enough that I felt a strange elation stepping off the stage i…

the heroine's coat


I took this picture right next to our house an a Saturday afternoon. The street this woman is walking down leads to a playground, eventually to a gate and a main road. The only people that walk here are returning to their parked car, or to find a child that has stayed on the swings too long. It occurred to me that this woman was neither of those things. She was just wandering away from traffic, away from the jangle of snowplows. Her hands clasped behind her back are an odd tradition here, some Soviet habit with no name. The snow was falling wet and heavy that day. I liked the trail of her footsteps.

That was almost two years ago.

Today I saw a long coat on a woman and suddenly recognized it. I still could not see her face, but that coat had become legend. I would recognize it anywhere. This is the minor miracle of the street photograph, recording the unnamable. She walked the same way, with a swaying side-to-side penguin shuffle. I hurried home, with a strange sense of satisfaction and possibility.


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