Undead Darlings #4
 Openings up
 

Peter Orner
opening of a story

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J. Rieland
c/o General Delivery
Kransburg, South Dakota 82271

Dear John, 
Included is the forty dollars you asked for so you can get a new pair of lenses. That should cover it since you’ve already got Dorry’s frames. I hope you’ll be able to stop at some one hour place somewhere. Make sure to remind the girl to give you the senior discount because she’ll forget no matter how many toes you look like you’ve got in the grave. You don't get any money off unless you ask.  I don’t need to tell you that Dorry and Martha and the rest of the shriekers and pouters around here are hell and gone worrying about you. Moaning night and day.  You’d think somebody died. I will say that Dorry’s biggest scare, rightfully so, is that you can’t see where you’re going with her glasses on. Why her glasses? You just take them off the counter without looking? Well, I hope the cash takes care of that problem. And look John, like I said when you called, when a man your age says he’s got to do something for himself, then I’m all for you and I’m doing the best I can holding down the fort here. I haven’t said a word about your call to anybody, keep insisting I don’t know a thing about anything. Lied to two cops already. And a detective. Detectives in person are dumber than they are TV. I have to warn you though. Dorry talked Sheriff Oberg into putting signs up all over Wabasha County that say you're missing and you’re senile. Like you’re some blind fart who lost his way driving home from the True Value. What's worse is that they’re sending out flyers to post offices from here to Missouri with your picture. At the bottom it says you’re wearing slippers and your wife’s glasses.  

Monica Lewis
opening of abandoned story, "Coral Springs"

Monica Lewis - Undead Darlings - Howlarium

The very moment you died, I was sitting on my bedroom floor picking at a loose piece of green carpet, high out of my head. I felt nothing. You were watching life’s moments flash by, there, when you were seven, that neon pink bike, a busted knee, your first kiss, meeting Dad, leaving Dad, me, your brightest moment, you said, that white star. Or maybe not. Maybe it was sudden, like flicking the radio dial, flicking it up or off and then an impact, glass shooting a fire into your brain, then black. I was supposed to call you back, your message earlier that day, normal, but with a hint of something else, a premonition? But no, these are the thoughts that do not help. These are the heavy ones, wet with apologies, all the questions, words I want to write into the past, and on and on they go, drifting off, little ellipses of regret.
        Dad is here. Or, I am here with Dad. You would be surprised really, all that he has done. I got the call from him. He handled the arrangements, even the Black-eyed Susans, even those were his. He didn’t bring Jill, which was thoughtful. Probably the most thoughtful thing he’s done for you in years. Still, we haven’t talked much, and it’s hard for me to look him in the eyes.
        I want to ask you what it’s like. I want to know if you can see me, and if these thoughts reach you. I don’t think I will visit your grave. I think we will talk, like this.

Christine Sneed
original opening of the story, "Dear Kelly Bloom"

Christine Sneed - Undead Darlings - Howlarium

Connor’s original plan was to graduate from college at twenty-two, as most of his high school friends managed to do, but he was twenty-eight when he finally received his diploma. During job interviews, he blamed family upheaval and inadequate financial aid for the six-year delay, but he suspected his potential employers knew that laziness and youthful stupidity were the true reasons. 

Hannah Pittard
opening of two drawered novels

Hannah Pittard - Undead Darlings - Howlarium

I lost my first husband at the Denver airport. That’s how I remember it, how I think of it even now. He’d said, “Watch my bags,” and I’d watched as he walked down the moving walkway in the direction of the bathroom. I looked down at the magazine in my lap and picked up easily where I left off in the article about a pregnant actress who was so happy to be able to eat an omelet now that it was OK to gain weight. Why I remember the article, I have no idea. Maybe because I thought it was funny to be so happy just to eat eggs. I remember finishing the article and looking up. My husband wasn’t back yet. I looked down at my watch. Thirty minutes had passed. I looked towards the men’s bathroom, as though just looking could have conjured him instantly. 

Margaret Malone
cut from an essay

Margaret Malone - Undead Darlings - Howlarium

        My husband and I, our central social life then, besides watching movies, was going to parties with his film school buddies, where I always felt like the girlfriend (say it like a swear word). I tried hard to be not too loud and not too quiet and not too weird, and to act like I totally knew exactly what everyone else was talking about (Oh my god, me too, I love Luchino Visconti!) even though I often didn’t, and I waited with an anxious stomach for the question that sooner or later always came when the natural conversation among a group of us sputtered and died: What do you do? The response to this question felt like it cemented each person’s place in the hierarchy of the group and, ultimately, the world at large. Answers typically went something like this: Producer, Writer, Actor, Editor, Director, Actor, Production Designer, Writer, Actor, Actor, Actor. And then my turn: Well, actually I’m not sure yet really so right now I work at a record store/bookstore/documentary film company/commercial production company/this place that cold calls tire stores and auto parts centers to encourage the employees to buy pornography/and sometimes I help out this guy who doesn’t pay me who’s writing and directing a musical about a protagonist who wears hair plugs.
        The ensuing silence like wind over a vast plain.

Gwen Goodkin
cut from the novella, A Month of Summer

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Houses like ours, with decks balanced atop high diagonal beams, are tucked in to the Hollywood Hills like nesting swallows. The houses all seem to be on the precipice of a fall, as if they might tip forward and roll to the valley floor. I look over the craggy canyon of smooth ice plant and spiny bushes. I close my eyes and inhale eucalyptus, but, in the breeze, I hear the dry rustle of corn stalks and the soft ripples of air on a field of wheat.

Undead Darlings: providing shelter for textual orphans worth saving.

about above

 
Peter Orner the opening of a story that's been kicking around for longer than I can remember: About an old guy who drives away wearing his wife's glasses. I've never been sure where he's going, and so he remains out there, driving wherever he is driving, and waiting on some money his friend is sending him so he can get new glasses.   

Peter Orner

the opening of a story that's been kicking around for longer than I can remember: About an old guy who drives away wearing his wife's glasses. I've never been sure where he's going, and so he remains out there, driving wherever he is driving, and waiting on some money his friend is sending him so he can get new glasses. 
 

Monica Lewis This is the opening to abandoned short story, “Coral Springs.” My stories often explore the theme of loss and characters who attempt to numb or deny themselves the pain of its aftermath. It’s a dark place to write from, and lately, with the current horrific state of the real world, I have had trouble emotionally entering these fictionalized fields of grief.   

Monica Lewis

This is the opening to abandoned short story, “Coral Springs.” My stories often explore the theme of loss and characters who attempt to numb or deny themselves the pain of its aftermath. It’s a dark place to write from, and lately, with the current horrific state of the real world, I have had trouble emotionally entering these fictionalized fields of grief. 
 

Christine Sneed original first paragraph of a story, "Dear Kelly Bloom," published last year in the Massachusetts Review.  (cut by editor)

Christine Sneed

original first paragraph of a story, "Dear Kelly Bloom," published last year in the Massachusetts Review.  (cut by editor)

Hannah Pittard I’ve written two complete drafts of two entirely different novels based on... [this] opening paragraph. Neither of them was worth publishing. I am haunted by this paragraph.  

Hannah Pittard

I’ve written two complete drafts of two entirely different novels based on... [this] opening paragraph. Neither of them was worth publishing. I am haunted by this paragraph.
 

Margaret Malone This paragraph is from an essay I'm just finishing now, about working for the worst boss I ever had; and it's also a lot about the time I spent living in LA in my 20s; and about art and perfection and how girls learn to be women from other women. I cut the paragraph because, even though it tells an arguably entertaining tidbit, it didn't feed directly into the main message of the essay; and so sadly, it had to go.  

Margaret Malone

This paragraph is from an essay I'm just finishing now, about working for the worst boss I ever had; and it's also a lot about the time I spent living in LA in my 20s; and about art and perfection and how girls learn to be women from other women. I cut the paragraph because, even though it tells an arguably entertaining tidbit, it didn't feed directly into the main message of the essay; and so sadly, it had to go.
 

Gwen Goodkin cut from as yet unpublished novella A Month of Summer.

Gwen Goodkin

cut from as yet unpublished novella A Month of Summer.