Write 2013: The Land of Deseret Narratives

Original Illustration, Ernest Hemingway Quotation, Art Prints and Literature Art Posters, Write Drunk Edit Sober, giclee
evan robertson

The thing about writing, drunk or sober, one must write in order to edit.

Here are two pieces from a longer collection of narratives from each county of Utah, (and former Utah Territory counties), that span from the early pioneers to the present. I wrote them a few years back. It's time to edit.

The Land of Deseret Narratives
Washington County Narrative - St. George , Utah:
Levi Snow’s Viet Nam Tour Ends April 14 , 1968 Khe Sanh

John Lee Snow remembers the sudden flash of lightning stuttering in the distance, the strange cloud rising plume-like above the mountains, and the hot, dirty wind howling across his land, so harsh he and his son Levi locked the animals, even the goat, in the barn overnight to wait it out. The next morning, a scurf of gray ash littered the landscape like old snow. John spent the day shoveling ash into the back of his truck and dumping it in the sink hole at the edge of his property. Levi tried to fashion a miniature snowman, failed, and settled for a snow angel until his mother admonished him to leave off and help her clear the porch and shake her roses clean.

Harris Young drove over to survey the damage and to report over a third of his herd had taken sick. John's cows, sheep, three horses and goat were grazing in the ash-covered pasture. By nightfall the goat was dead, and the sheep were down, most likely to die.

It would be a decade before the cancer bloomed in his wife’s throat, another five before his thyroid turned traitor, but this is out on the horizon still.

Today, six months to the day his boy shipped out, just as the sun began to sink, two men in military dress pulled into his driveway, got out of their car and knocked on his front door. In that moment his son Levi dissolved into shadow.
Millard County Narrative – Topaz, Utah: Cindy Cho Yamamoto Dreams of Butterflies While Lying on Her Cot September 23, 1942
The desert wind batters the barrack’s thin metal walls.  Cindy thinks the wind sounds like Bingo’s howls when he caught his paw in a mouse trap. Red sand gathers in small pyramids inside their new home’s door and on the window sills.  A fine silt rains steadily from the ceiling.  Her mother is sitting on the edge of her cot, as she has been for the last three hours since their arrival, in her fur-trimmed coat buttoned to the throat, clutching her purse which rests on her lap, along with both gloved hands.  Her white day gloves are tinged a smeared pink from smoothing dust from her navy wool skirt.  Her father is stretched out on top of his government-issued mattress, his suit jacket unbuttoned.  Red dust limns his body.  His slender hands are clasped behind his head, and his hat nearly covers his face, a defense against her mother’s whispered assault, How could you let this happen? To us? Cindy closes her eyes and is quickly asleep. She slides backwards to her tree-lined neighborhood on the slick river of dreams.  The door and windows  or her family home are locked securely as her family left them three days earlier, but she hears Bingo barking from inside. She hopes he will keep the home safe until they return.  Cindy smells a fragrant breeze and walks down her front steps to the vegetable garden at the side of her home and is surprised to see the cherry tree is no longer burdened with fruit, but ablaze with bright pink blossoms, its branches swaying in the cool San Franciscan breeze. Suddenly, the blossoms open and close their vibrant wings and lift from the tree and flutter away as one body upwards until they are so high in the sky they become a bird-shaped cloud.

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