Inundated

My coping mechanism is to inundate myself with information. After 9/11, I watched the news nonstop. It was actual news in the days immediately afterward, do you remember? News like in Ireland where the anchors give facts and interview experts and suddenly the world mattered again. We noticed we weren’t immune. Or secure.

Friday morning I woke to posts about Colorado, and read every article I could find. I read a collection of tweets that built from the movie-goers standing in line beforehand to the incomprehensible aftermath. Aftermath. Such a painful word. Heavy and searching. I wish, sometimes, it were easier to love this world. That I could do it without thinking. Without willing myself. There were children in that theater. He held a gun to one of them. Maybe several. I’ve stopped following the story. I can’t bear it.

My dad was military, and had a handgun, and I remember the first time I held it. The surprising weight of it. My arm extended, I closed one eye and tried to imagine pulling the trigger. But there’s nothing. I see nothing. My arm extended, the sight, and nothing. I hate guns. I hate them. I fought with my ex about them all the time. The awful beauty of his Enfield rifles. The bayonets. Even the idea of those weapons is sharp. Could you drive that metal into another person? Could you? Why, brother? Why?

Whatever spark is inside us, whatever spark, it deserves beauty. Wonder. It deserves the river rushing past, the salt spray, the leaves on grass. It deserves flitting insects and that strange shaggy creature on the horizon. It deserves the enthusiasm of our neighbors. Of art in the darkness. Of a story told to cameras. That spark deserves nurturing. What have we done? What have we done?

I need to set this down. I need to rest. My arms are tired. My heart so open even the fractures are doorways. I love you. Out there in the world. I love you. Don’t despair. Don’t despair. I love you. You are not alone.

1 thought on “Inundated”

  1. It was the same for me: continuous submersion in 9/11 news. I stopped watching and reading about the Aurora news after I heard the story of the man who left his girlfriend, her four-year-old daughter and a baby in the theatre and ran, only to propose to her when reunited in the hospital. She said yes.
    I can’t understand that at all. I hope there are facts about it that the news didn’t know and couldn’t tell us. Was the baby ripped from his arms? We don’t know. Did he have his girlfriend’s hand while she held the baby? Then who had the four-year-old? I can’t understand this, and so I left the news alone, and I only think about the ones who didn’t escape or get lucky. I think about their families.
    Like the survivors and the officials in Aurora, I refuse to mention the shooter’s name or think about him. I don’t care what terrible demons or accidents of birth or circumstance were his causes.
    I think about the dead, the injured and so many suffering families. My heart can handle the easy compassion, but it seems no longer open to the hard road to understanding.

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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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