First published by Change Seven Magazine on 1 March 2016
One of the hard things about writing a novel is working full time in a job that does not involve writing a novel.
So, like many writers in these circumstances I do my best to write chapters at a time, and sometimes those chapters take on lives of their own. That’s Jean.
I had the pleasure of workshopping this story at Gotham Writers Workshops in Manhattan last summer, and beside all the other peculiar things (underground lairs, biomorphic technology, the afterlife, Ballantines) I asked my shop-mates to read, I shared with them this story, too. In the context of my novel, this chapter was originally a podcast script.
I am glad my wonderful classmates and supportive instructor (shoutout to Arlaina Tibensky, a.k.a. One Story #3! xoxo) encouraged me to give Jean a life of her own. A special thank you to Jean’s early readers: Yvonne Brown, Jennie Ma, Ray Maxwell, Tom Talamentez, Amy Veach, Jean Wang, and Chad Woodford. Thanks also to the editorial team at Change Seven, especially Sheryl Monks.
To put things in context with Jean, another dicey marriage was famously holding together on Broadway in 1947, as Tennessee Williams’ Kowalski’s slugged it out in A Streetcar Named Desire, but there were other crumbling couple-dramas playing out just south of Manhattan.
So here is a sister’s story about standing witness to a crumbling marriage. I hope that you enjoy and love Jean like I do. Here she is: Jean, 1948