A Fence Around Her
I recorded the first two chapters of A Fence Around Her for The Platte River Sampler, a radio show that was broadcast on KZUM 89.3 FM in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Platte River Sampler was hosted by Phil Schupbach, and featured the original work of Nebraska writers.
Click on the buttons below to hear the first two chapters of A Fence Around Her. Chapter One was originally broadcast on December 11, 2014 and is followed by an interview. Chapter Two was originally broadcast on June 4, 2015, and the interview can be found on the button below.
In Bodie, California in 1900, fourteen-year-old Ruthie Conoboy fights to keep her family together. Her father Mike works for a mining company as head machinist at the stamp mill. Her beautiful mother Lilly is a former prostitute, rejected by respectable people and resentful of her husband's reluctance to leave the dying mining town. In her isolation, Lilly paints fantastical landscapes, drinks heavily, and leaves the domestic chores to Ruthie. Tobias Mortlock, a charismatic Englishman of dubious character, arrives in Bodie and asks Mike for a job. Ruthie is leery of him, but her father is trusting, and Ruthie later encounters Mortlock working at the stamp mill. Soon, Ruthie suspects that Lilly and Mortlock have become more than friends. Can Ruthie stop this man from destroying her family?
I am not a poet, but I like to write poetry as a portal to fiction. Here is one I wrote for the first chapter of A Fence Around Her.
The Old Sawdust Saloon
Sudden darkness after sunlight
Blinds me to a standstill
I see nothing but only smell
The fumes of bad whiskey
And fresh beer from the coldest springs.
My eyes adjust slowly.
Heads of men around game tables
Playing cards and drinking,
Visible now below the smoke,
Floating like an angel.
A portrait hangs behind the bar.
A delicate woman,
Once the owner's wife or girlfriend,
For making the attempt to stay.
A click of billiard balls,
Then the soft thud of victory.
A whooping and shouting.
An order of drinks all around.
The mines are closed today.