Mannequin Monday – How Quickly She Disappears

So many words to drape our mannequin form this week. Books, both fiction and non-fiction. A debut novel How Quickly She Disappears. And a new Steinbeck biography.

And another bit of fiction I wrote, more from my heart than usual.

What I’m Reading

This week I am in the middle of reading six books. Not six books on my To Be Read pile. Actually reading each of them. The perils of the digital age.

I am a public library lover. A heavy user. Before the COVID lockdown I always had at least one library book at home. Lately I have been using LA County’s digital version, Libby. When I am reading online, and come across a mention of a book that looks interesting, I immediately go to Libby. I put the book on hold, or borrow it right away if I can. I am not ashamed to say that I can easily put one book aside to taste a new book. If it grabs me, I will read it right away, then go back to the one I paused.

I was an early reader as a kid. Our town had no library, so I took a 30-minute bus ride to the nearest library. It was only a storefront, but I browsed every book on every shelf there over the years.

Today I am diving into How Quickly She Disappears, a debut novel set in Alaska in 1941. Halfway through the second chapter, I’m hooked. This meant setting aside The Enigma Game, a WWII story. I am a big fan of the author, Elizabeth Wein. I’ll be back to it shortly.

Two of my loan books are non-fiction. I am slowly working through Atomic Habits. And I finally got to borrow a new biography of John Steinbeck, Mad at the World, by William Souder. I’m one chapter in, and I will surely finish this. I’ve been looking forward to a new biography on Steinbeck, hoping for some new insights into his writing.

Using Libby gives me the opportunity to try out a book. If it does not hold my attention, I return it right away. But it gives me the chance to experience a wide range of books. Digital shelf browsing, at its best.

As a postscript, I should add that the books I borrow on Libby don’t include what I have on Amazon Kindle. More books there that I am working my way through. A great time when there is always a book to be had.



What I’m Writing

A story I wrote, based on what I’m going through these weeks. Maybe another expression of how quickly she disappears. Enjoy.

In the Deep

Will Arcos fell asleep on the couch, the fifteenth night after losing her. A song played repeatedly in his head. 

I wish I had someone to love me. 

Someone to call me their own. 

Someone to sleep with me nightly. 

I’m weary of sleeping alone.

Imelda May, with the Dubliners backing her up. Mellow bass voices giving her lyric a bottom. 

Will sank in the chill ocean water. He had not reached his bottom yet.

His feet kicked out, probed the waters. Where was the bottom? I need to touch bottom, to push myself up. Back to the surface. To the sunlight. To find her.

The deep waters cradled him. Swirling, bubbling all around him. Floating as if in space. 

Will moved his hands, his arms. It did not slow his descent. Not to work toward the surface. Not enough to push against. He needed a firm surface for kick off. Something solid in this amorphous place. 

Bits of detritus floated past his face. Soggy leaves. Scraps of seaweed. A few tiny fish.

He could hold his breath no more.

But no bottom. His toes probed. Nothing. He could hold his breath no more. It was dark in this deep place. Above, the late afternoon sun drifted to the horizon. He could make out light. A brightness. Something brighter than where he was, far below.

She’s gone. 

His right foot felt something. Soft. Grainy. The bottom. He let both feet settle in the silt. Bent his knees. Shoved hard. He rocketed toward the sunlight. Now he used his arms, propelling himself as the push from the bottom began to lag.

It was brighter up here. He turned his face to the light. Saw a wave breaking above. Close.

Will broke the surface. Gasped. Gulped in the air. 

I’m weary of sleeping alone. 


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