Books I almost wrote


The Midges of Bradison County


This is the riveting story of a well-endowed female entomologist, Roberta, who travels to Bradison County in the wilds of Wisconsin to take pictures of midges for a journal article she is writing. In a completely uncontrived way, she runs into Francis, a Wisconsin bachelor farmer, but he suffers only minor injuries. When she discovers that Francis not only has a few cows but also raises sorghum, she falls in love with him because she is writing her article on Cecidomylidae, the gall midges that infect sorghum. Over a period of four days, in between taking pictures of midges, Roberta does her best to seduce Francis. To fill out the middle of the book, Roberta spends several chapters wearing not-appropriate-for-work clothes trying to pique Francis’ interest, but her revealing cleavage only reminds him that he needs to milk the cows. Just before the book is about to end, Roberta throws herself at Francis and misses. When she stands up, she promises to explain how to eliminate his midges, and Francis takes Roberta to a Friday night fish fry. Roberta leaves town sadder but wiser; Francis doesn’t.



Fifty Shades of Grayscale


Oddly, this is another riveting story, but this time it is about an insanely rich female photographer, Christina, who eschews color photography because she likes the word “eschews” and thinks it’s way cooler than “avoids” or “shuns.” In a somewhat contrived way, a young man from Ace Hardware shows up at her mansion to interview her for his blog. He has a photo blog, and it just so happens that he is into black and white photography too!  It takes Christiana a few chapters before she asks Andy, the blogger/clerk, to be her assistant in her dark room, with the emphasis on “dark.” As their relationship develops, he discovers she has a bandage fetish. Christina introduces Andy to the various kinds of bandages, showing him how to apply the four main kinds: strip, roller, tubular, and triangular. First she gets him to wear an Ace bandage, which he finds somewhat binding, but then makes a link to his former job at the hardware store: a “hard-wear” Ace bandage. Somehow this makes it okay. He moves onto wearing a bunch of strip bandages and experimenting with tubular bandages. A lot of the chapters are about how things get weirder. One day in the dark room,  Andy realizes they just don’t have the right chemistry; he put the wrong chemical in the pan. After he cleans up, Andy leaves the dark room sadder but wiser; Christina doesn’t.



Midge photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The watermelon



I carry the watermelon like a newborn and place it gently in the sink to rinse away the dirt. The bands of green barbed wire are smooth as ice.



I see the face the watermelon showed the world, that cheerful summer green blending in with leaves and grass. Beneath its bright belly, it hides the scars of waiting. I turn it over, touch the mottled, yellow skin that carried the weight of sunlight for me. This is the face I love. I trace the days of waiting for the bees, waiting for the sun, waiting for the rain. In stillness, the watermelon yielded to the world and all its wars, growing great with a blood-red secret. The more its heart grew large with wonder, the more the rocks and stones pressed sharply, marking it forever.


Now it waits for me to reveal its beauty with my sharp knife.



Inside the watermelon’s succulent heart I find seeds, teardrops black as night. The sun never knew its sorrow. Even watermelons want to leave behind some sweetness, some memory of the summer when the red-winged blackbird sat on the fence watching the sun do its work.