Sisters are from Mars, Sisters are from Vegas

My close friend (and one of my more stalwart editors, always there to help me plod through another manuscript revision) just published a very touching short story in Storyglossia.  I’m really excited for her.  The story is here.

Liz Chamberlin’s recent work has appeared or will appear in Fourteen Hills and Palimpsest. She won the 2007 Maurice Prize in Fiction and was nominated to Best New American Voices 2008. She received her MA in Creative Writing and Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis, where she studied with Pam Houston, Lucy Corin and Lynn Freed.

My own writing has been invaluably improved by her generous influence.  Congrats on the new publication, Liz!

Sisters Are From Mars, Sisters Are From Vegas

by Liz Chamberlin

When your sister stands in front of you, wearing pigtails and her Princess Tiger Lily headband, hands on her hips and her cheeks puffing out so her pigtails bounce with each word and she tells you, “I was supposed to be an only child,” decide to wound her right back. Decide you will say something clever and cutting.

Open your mouth. Feel the fur on your unbrushed teeth with the tip of your tongue. Think. Think. When she starts to walk away, say to the back of her head, “Well! Well you look like a chipmunk! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Later, under the covers with the flashlight so your sister can’t look over your shoulder, get out your book. Write down all the smart things you could have said. Underline the best ones. Imagine you had said them.

When your sister falls off the monkey bars and gives herself two black eyes, so the kids at school start calling her raccoon girl and she cries—great, sparkling smears on her cheeks—sneak into your Mom’s bathroom. Color black rings around your own eyes with the eyeliner pencil. Go down to dinner and walk into the kitchen, hands in your back pockets.

“You’re mocking me! She’s mocking me!” your sister screams.

“Wash your face! For Heaven’s sake,” your Mom says. Her face is large and looming.

Retreat to the bathroom and stare into the mirror, eyes white and wide inside the watery black rings. Your tears have made your cheeks run black. You are nowhere near as beautiful as your sister.  Full story here.


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