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

Thanksgiving

November 18, 2014

Tags: Thanksgiving

In junior high school we were made, every November, to write an essay on what exactly we were thankful for. This required careful tailoring, as you absolutely could not tell the truth and be thankful that [name redacted] who tripped you into a mud puddle had got a concussion that morning. Or that your [relationship redacted] who wet the bed wasn’t coming for Christmas after all and sleeping in your room. And particularly not that the headmaster had just missed catching you smoking pot behind the dining hall.

Instead there was a good deal of mush about being thankful for family, whether you were or not (I generally was but that sentiment lasted all year), and for the chance to do Good Works to Help the Poor.

Now that people who were idiots in junior high school generally aren’t anymore, or are in Texas, my relatives have bladder control, and I can misbehave in private, I find that I do have a list after all.

My niece who recently got her learner’s permit will be driving the family to Roanoke for Thanksgiving. I will be thankful when they get here.

I ordered four angel Christmas tree ornaments for presents and World Market sent me four knitted frog hats instead. I am thankful for the opportunity to show them to my husband and son, while saying brightly, “Look! I got us all matching hats for the holidays!” and see what they do.

I am thankful that my husband finally found something he actually wanted for his birthday, even if it was another dog. Who has an ear infection. (There is no free dog.) The vet gave him a prescription for Rusty, to take to our pharmacy, where they carefully labeled it “Rusty Dog Neuron (Canine)” just in case anyone thought that someone already afflicted with a last name like Neuron would name his kid Rusty Dog.

We were told that Rusty, having been abused early in life, did not bark because he had been beaten for it. We were also told that he was terrified of wearing a collar and of being up on the furniture. As I write, he is snoring on the bed in his new collar, and we heard a small woof at the postman the other day and another at the prospect of bites of a cheese sandwich. We are thankful that Rusty is getting his bark back.

Thanksgiving meditation

December 9, 2013

Tags: Thanksgiving, writing

Yearly we are told to list what we are thankful for. Some years it’s easier than others. But I find that I am thankful at this season for odd things. That we are not promised a world without sorrow, for one. There are empty spots in the line-up of the beloved, and it makes it easier when Sorrow builds her nest, to remember that no one ever said you were immune and exempt.
Thankful for the power of story, the gift given to artists – to take sorrow and make art.
Thankful for the twinge in the right knee because, not to sound too much like Pollyanna, that means the damn thing’s still there.
Thankful for the freight train snore of the dog at the foot of the bed; in Edith Wharton’s words, “little heartbeat at my feet.” Thankful that someone has finally clipped his toenails.
... for people who used to drive me crazy who I can now make use of in fiction.
...for the grouchy old coot ahead of me in Kroger who insulted the checkers, and made me look like a saint.
...for ice storms that keep us from going places that we didn’t want to go.
...and that so far the cat hasn’t climbed the Christmas tree.
Not a bad list.































Chocolate novios for Day of the Dead


Noon Whistle at the Lizard Works

Back yard bottle tree



The last hurrah


Delia Sherman and Ruth Sanderson, summer Children's Lit faculty

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