workzine

Molly Gloss, 2/22/2010

Current Occupation: Writer of novels, stories, poems, book reviews
Former Occupation: seasonal farm worker, cannery shift worker, library page, elementary school teacher, trucking company clerk, housewife, mother.
Contact Information:  Molly Gloss lives and works in Portland, Oregon.  Her novels have won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, the Oregon Book Award, the James Tiptree Jr. Award, the PEN/West Fiction Prize, and the Whiting Writers Award. Her short story “Lambing Season” was a Hugo and Nebula Award finalist.  She considers herself an avid but still-probationary poet, having come to the form rather late in her career.

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A Writer Explains How She Works


I can never remember how I enter, by what
door or gate, or whether story comes to me
while I’m sleeping, stands over the bed, whispers
a few words into my ear or my open mouth.

Then I think it must be like a border collie
bringing me a stick. I throw it out there
as far as I can, the dog brings it back,
drops the wet thing at my feet again and again.

But it’s also how fog enlarges its territory
when daylight arrives in the eastern sky,
how the damp air at the indefinite edges of a woodland
gathers, whitens, fills the empty spaces between leaves.

Sometimes on a dry hill I walk around all day
kicking over clods. I mutter at times,
“Why not?” or I hear myself say, “What can you do?”
or “Be quiet.” Then I wait in the cold until dusk
and try to remember where I am, how I got here.

If I can’t find my way back it’s as if
a compassionate stranger takes me by the elbow
and walks me to the neighborhood precinct house
where the sergeant behind the desk makes a call
and shortly someone comes to fetch me home.

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