Argument

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad telling me I didn’t have a wedding, I had a party. That the State of Washington didn’t recognize me as married. I’ve been trying to determine how that lessens what I’ve chosen. I got married even when there was absolutely no financial benefit. I got married despite the fact that the state is going to pretend I didn’t. I got married as a symbolic manifestation of my heart, of my fidelity. I got married without privilege. And I married despite these inequalities.

If I lived in New York, and the state recognized my wedding as lawful, would my father? His position on state ratification is spurious, surely. A privilege denied me. Another way to judge the legitimacy of my relationship. My affair, as he named it. I’ve been thinking that in many ways, he honored me at last, by trying to belittle the fact that I chose these things without advantage. Because that’s the best part of what Mary and I did. We married in the company of our friends and family, at the feet of our community, and vowed our devotion. Not in some cold judge’s chamber in the rote tedium of the first time round. It’s like telling the woman she isn’t a witch if she drowns. You aren’t married if you choose to be bound together before witnesses, to share your lives, unless the state notices and agrees.

No. That isn’t right. I am married. I have married well and happily, at last. I would be his daughter even if he weren’t married to my mom. I would be his child in spite of any legitimacy recognized by the state. You cannot tell me I am not married. I know you to be wrong.

6 thoughts on “Argument”

  1. That was beautifully written. I agree that you & Mary are married. I am sadden that your father doesn’t accept that. I hope that someday I can have the courge to be that bold to my father. For now, all I can do is quietly love Jessica. Thank you for being a great voice for all of us.

  2. I was married to a woman for seven years; two weeks ago, I married a man.

    What’s painful to me is when people, mostly well-meaning, ask “So what’s it like to be married?!” When someone asks me this question, they discount the legitimacy of my first relationship, whether they realize it or not. I WAS married, and it WAS real, even if it didn’t happen in a church or with a clergy person or with a toner-smelling license from the government.

    I’m not married to her anymore, but I won’t discount the trueness of our relationship. I called her “wife” and she answered to it; and that’s good enough for me.

    1. It’s an awful thing to attempt to rank love. To sort and file it. This is more real than that. These are more legal than those. Absurd. Wrong.

      In happier news, congratulations, Devon. I meant to tell you the other day at the park. Best wishes for you and your love.

      1. It is like that town hall meeting last week where the Secretary of the Department of Whatever was explaining how they were cutting food benefits for certain groups and she kept saying “and these children aren’t illegals” and I wanted to scream “CHILDREN CAN’T BE ILLEGAL!”

        How can a marriage between two enthusiastically consenting people be illegal?

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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