Category Archives: memoir

The Only Time I’ve Seen the Dead

“You poor drowned rats,” our savior told us. “You have to let me take you home.”

It was raining and it was winter and we were huddled in the dark under the awning of some convenience store somewhere on the Oregon coast. No one would pick the three of us up. My friends were Swamp Rat and Tortoise, two women who’d sat in trees and blockaded roads and hopped freight and lived free lives and they weren’t even as old as my twenty years.

Our savior was sixty, with gray pigtails. She told us she was dying of Lyme’s.

We piled into the back of her SUV and she drove us deep and deeper into the woods. She lived far away from anything, like a witch in a fairy tale. Like a witch in a fairy tale, she could have murdered us.
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I Met Death on the Road

I am beginning to experiment with writing memoir, but I’ve decided to write memoir in which I suspend my disbelief in the supernatural. This story is the first in that series.

Of all the hundreds of people who’ve picked me up hitchhiking, of all the hundreds of people I’ve picked up myself, only once did I meet eyes with death.

I’ve met murderers before. I once yelled at a murderer, who I knew had a gun and a bad temper, in the middle of the desert about how stupid he was for having once had a swastika tattoo — not my brightest moment.

Not every murderer is death. Only once have I met death.

It was the summer of 2013, I think, and I was driving north through the woods of western North Carolina. I was driving my van Leviathan, the home I’d had the longest and my constant companion still. The sun was up and bright, and I was lost. I mean, I knew the highway I was on, and where I was going, but that wasn’t a good summer for me. I was lost. Atlanta was behind me, Asheville was ahead of me, and death was hitchhiking down the road.
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