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Peripheral Visions by Nancy Christie - Book Tour + Giveaway

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Literary Short Fiction/Collection
Date Published: May 2020
Publisher: Unsolicited Press

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What do you do when the hand that life deals you isn’t the one you wanted? In Peripheral Visions and Other Stories, the characters choose to play the best game they can with the cards they’ve received. For some, it’s making the most of the circumstances in which they find themselves, even if it’s not the life they planned. For others, it’s following an unconventional path—not the easiest course or the one that others would take, but the one that’s right for them. But they never lose hope that life will get better if they can just hold on.

Excerpt from “Remember Mama” in Peripheral Visions and Other Stories
Maggie, where’s my tea?”
Maggie set down the dishcloth and moved to answer her mother’s call. The rest of the china, like so many other tasks half-completed, would have to wait.
You had your tea already, Mama. Remember? I brought you a cup of tea and you finished it and said you didn’t want any more.”
But the old woman shook her head obstinately.
No, I didn’t. You never brought it. I’ve been waiting for hours” the now-familiar note of self-pity creeping into her voice, and you never brought it to me.”
Maggie smothered a sigh. There was no point in arguing with her mother. She could show her the cup she drank from and her mother still wouldn’t remember.
Couldn’t, Maggie corrected herself. Her mother couldn’t remember. She had to keep reminding herself of that fact or the frustration would soon grow too strong to handle.
Where is—where is—” Her mother struggled for a name and then gave up. Where did he go?”
Paul”—the name emphasized just a bit, had to go away on a business trip. To California. I told you all about it, Mama. Remember?”
Paul, who had shown infinite patience and tenderness with his mother-in-law. He pretended everything was normal and persisted in carrying on one-sided conversations with her about the weather, current events, upcoming plans for the weekend.
But lately, her mother couldn’t even remember his name.
Oh, yes, now I remember.” But her mother’s voice held no conviction. It just slipped my mind for a moment.” She looked at her daughter, obviously hoping that the excuse would be accepted.
Maggie nodded her head, joining her mother in the delusion. Mama’s poor memory”—how often she and her father had teased her mother about her inability to recall names, dates, places. It had been humorous once, but no longer. Now it was a tragic reality.
After Maggie’s father had died, her mother had become distracted and forgetful, and initially Maggie put much of the blame on grief. But even sorrow, she was finally forced to admit, couldn’t wreak such havoc on a person’s mental abilities. Even grief couldn’t keep you from recalling where you lived, where you were going, whether or not you’d eaten or slept or changed your clothes. Only sickness could do that.
Remembering this, Maggie asked with more patience, Do you want another cup of tea now, Mama?” as she straightened the soft throw across her mother’s narrow, blue-veined feet. Maggie recalled watching her mother knit the soft mix of blue and cream and orchid yarns during the long nights in the hospital, the clicking sound of the needles a counterpoint to the noise of the respirator that filled her father’s lungs with air.
Someday, she would think, she would have to ask her mother to show her how to knit like that.
But there was never a free moment to learn. And now, her mother couldn’t even tie her own shoes.
No, I’m not thirsty anymore. But I am hungry, Maggie. How soon is dinner?”
Not for a long time, Mama. We just had lunch.” Her mother frowned, and Maggie knew she didn’t recall the omelet filled with cheese and herbs that her daughter had carefully prepared just half an hour ago. She went on quickly.
I thought I’d make a roast for dinner, with new potatoes and green beans with dill. Would you like that for dinner, Mama?” knowing the question was pointless even as it was asked. No matter what her mother’s initial response was, she was certain to change her mind by the time the food was ready. But Maggie had to keep the fiction alive that her mother’s opinions and desires counted for something, as inconsistent as they were.
Her mother was silent for a moment, considering, and then shook her head. I don’t like beans—they’ve got strings. Why can’t we have carrots instead?”
Maggie smiled. Okay, Mama, I’ll make carrots. Carrots in honey sauce, like you used to do. Why don’t you take a little rest now while I finish washing the dishes?” and she stroked her mother’s hair as the old woman obediently closed her eyes.
Slipping her fingers through the fine white strands, Maggie gazed with love and pity at her mother’s face. With her eyes closed, her mother could be like any other old woman, just growing a bit more forgetful as years passed. Sometimes, Maggie could almost convince herself that this particular fantasy was real.
But then her mother would open her eyes to gaze blankly at her surroundings. The confusion that had been hidden behind those paper-thin lids would be painful to see, as Maggie watched her mother struggle to recall some recognizable pattern from the fading fabric of memory.

About the Author
Nancy Christie is the award-winning author of Peripheral Visions and Other Stories Rut-Busting Book for Authors, Rut-Busting Book for Writers, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and The Gifts Of Change. Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous print and online publications. A member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Florida Writers Association, Christie teaches writing workshops at conferences, libraries and schools. She is also the founder of the annual “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day.

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  1. Thanks for inviting me to visit at your blog! I'm looking forward to chatting with your followers about the book and anything writing-related!


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