“The Center of Dirty”

“Rachel hung up on her mother while she was telling Rachel about her niece’s birthday party. The abrupt silence was packed with glass. Rachel stared at the dark screen of her phone until the greasy prints bothered her. She wiped the phone across her jeans and set it face down on the table. It rang. She brushed at crumbs.”

Cold Creek Review
no. 5
28 March 2018

[No longer available. Cold Creek Review is defunct.]

An adult daughter turns to chores after a phone call with her mother triggers traumatic memories.

This is the big day! My first published fiction, a sad story titled “The Center of Dirty,” is now available in the fifth issue of the wonderful online journal Cold Creek Review! I really loved this journal “that explores the depths of troubled emotion” when I first came across it and I hoped that someday I would have a story worthy of submitting to them. That story is “The Center of Dirty.”

I wrote the first draft in May 2016 in The Writers Studio Tucson workshop with Lela Scott MacNeil and received really helpful feedback from her and the other students. I’m so thankful and if you are in Tucson (or New York City or the other cities that have branches), I and many other published writers coming out of The Writers Studio can assure you that these workshops and the exercises we work on can lead to great things.

It’s probably best not to unpack in detail the genesis of a story or poem, but I will say that “The Center of Dirty” is a story that allowed me to grapple with some unfortunate truths about my family history. This story greatly fictionalizes an upsetting revelation. I’m not sure if therapy is the right word for this process, but now the story is out there and I’m a little easier on the inside.

Rest in peace, Nick.

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