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Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? The Fifth Woman As the stories were coming out into my notebooks, I called them the alley stories. “Oh, this is another alley story,” my writers group would say; because this narrator's apartment is like an island above an alley that brings her the beautiful and dark aspects of humanity.
Fiction genre? Ex science fiction, short story, fantasy novella, romance, drama, crime, plays, flash fiction, historical, comedy, movie script, screenplay, etc. And how many pages long? Novel. Literary novel/collage. An assemblage of short fictions that tilt into surreality (but they felt like reality to me, while writing them). 104 pages long
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? Wow. 2009? Pieces started coming out in my notebooks, but I didn’t think of them as a book. Final edits from Sarabande, May 2018 or something like that
Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work? And please describe in detail. And can you please include a photo? In my office, at home, with a ficus tree outside the window and a figurative drawing by a friend I call Puddlehead (Below) on the wall behind me. My little dog sleeps under the desk. Every once in a while she kicks her legs and she has accompanied me through three books.
What is the summary of this specific fiction work? The book jacket summary: At the center of this book is the death of the narrator's partner in a bicycling accident. Each short chapter serves as a brief vignette of or occasionally a magical realist metaphor for the grieving process. A shadow of a dog appears in her apartment with no apparent source; clouds fill her living room as her carpet collects drifts of ash and snow; a crack opens in the ceiling and splits her building down the middle. At times dryly comical, at other times radiantly surreal, The Fifth Woman is a testament to the resurrecting power of memory and enduring love. (Above Left: Nona's writing partner Edgar)
Please include the excerpt and include page numbers as reference. The excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. It's the fourth piece. Page 123.
Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I can’t find the notebook piece, only near final drafts (it came out pretty whole) I changed the poem to one I wrote rather than verse from Dickenson. I played with the end and made some sharpening cuts about the thesis comments.
Other works you have published? Heavier Than Air: Stories. Was awarded the Grace Paley prize in Short fiction and listed as an editor's choice in the New York Times book review. Little Book of Days. Nonfiction: Lawfully Wedded Wives: Rethinking Marriage in The 21St-Century.
Anything you would like to add? “When I was about ten, my father asked if I wanted to learn his cow insemination trade or become a nun. My mother didn’t think I was nun material…so what choice did that leave me but to move to San Francisco and become a writer?”