Wendy Oleson’s fiction appears or is forthcoming in Quarterly West, Carve, the Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. In 2015, she won the storySouth Million Writers Award and was a fiction fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. Wendy teaches for the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension.
Record From a Farmhouse - an excerpt:
We’re thirsty, and Warren won’t stop making snowflakes. With brittle plastic scissors, he excises wobbly circles, sickly triangles, and more quadrilaterals than the other shapes combined. Pieces of paper fall to the floor and stick to the sweaty soles of his feet; I find them in my bed, with dirt and a little bit translucent.
We don’t light candles. The sun appears now, and it seems best to use it. Warren stands before the window that lit his great-grandmother’s chair—I know from the photographs in an album my mother long ago misplaced—and it’s hard to ignore the sense that the dead woman holds him there. It’s her quilt that snags discarded bits of paper snow, as though it’s a great net gathering us up.
“That’s a good one, huh?” I ask. He’s stopped showing me his scissor work. “You made it symmetrical,” I add, joining my palms before opening them, hinged at the pinkies, like butterfly wings. But he doesn’t look.
I haven’t worked for more than a year. There’s nothing to do. The bones and flesh of this house make for isolation as great as anything I can remember. Isolated but never alone; they’ve all lived here, all our blood has walked these floors, breathed this air. Maybe they watch, laughing to see him cutting snowflakes from yellowed paper; he’s never seen snow. [...]