Amanda Cockrell

Selected Works

Young Adult Novel
Saints and soldiers and the Untied Church of Dog
Novels
The Hollywood blacklist and a delayed funeral
Historical novel of a Roman legion in Britain
The Horse Catchers trilogy
Mythological novel of the coming of the horse to the American Southwest
Volume 2 in The Horse Catchers trilogy
Volume 3 in The Horse Catchers trilogy
The Deer Dancers trilogy
Mythological novel of the beginning of art
Volume 2 in The Deer Dancers trilogy
Volume 3 in The Deer Dancers trilogy
Children's books
By my mother, Marian Cockrell, the story of an enchanted castle on the edge of Fairyland

What We Keep

Other people's business

November 19, 2013

Tags: writing

I am inordinately set up about having (after several tries) got a piece in the Readers Write column of The Sun magazine. Every month they publish a list of topics and upcoming deadlines for submitting a short personal essay on each subject. Mine was “Cars,” a paean to my long-ago 1961 red convertible bug, in which I learned how to navigate the L.A. freeways and did many things my mother didn’t know about. My father bought it for me in the course of an evening’s poker game.

Readers Write is always the first thing I read when the new issue arrives. They are mini-novels, tiny memoirs of a moment or a person or, often, a trauma of some kind. But almost as often of a moment of joy, or understanding, on topics like Privacy, Trying Again, The Refrigerator, or Fire. Some are signed. Others are “Name Withheld.” Writers are instinctively interested in other people’s business, so small wonder it’s my favorite.

Years ago we spent the night at a favorite inn, Deetjen’s in Big Sur, where there are no telephones in the rooms, no television, just a fireplace and a journal for guests to write something in. I sat up most of the night reading the one in our room. There is something about anonymity, about knowing that the next guest is someone you will never set eyes on, that frees the tongue, or the pen. The one that I remember best was the entry by a woman who had come to the inn to break up with her lover, written as he slept beside her. I’ve always wondered what happened to them, written their story in varying ways in my head. Maybe she is someone I have read in The Sun.

Comments

  1. December 6, 2013 7:11 AM EST
    Congratulations!
    - Anita
  2. December 9, 2013 6:22 PM EST
    That was always the only part of the Sun I could bring myself to read. Mother always used to get so worked up over the contents of harper's that I thought I should send her a copy of the Sun to give her a sense of perspective. Fortuntately, good sense prevailed.
    - Therrio
  3. December 9, 2013 6:24 PM EST
    Is that the car we drove across country with that always had to have its water pump packed in wet towels?
    - Therrio
  4. December 10, 2013 9:42 AM EST
    It is indeed. As I recall, we used iced tea.
    - Amanda Cockrell






























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Children's Lit faculty Brian Attebery and Ellen Kushner at the end-of-term party