In the First Person

(c. sherman’s turkey plate)

I never lied to anyone.  Not about anything important, that is.  What some might call deceit I like to think of as artistic embellishment, an essential component of my quest toward self-realization.   Everyone should get a turn in the sun.  Even simple people like me deserve to be heard, don’t we?

Really, I’m one of the most honest people you’ll ever meet.  For example, if you asked me whether you look good in those jeans, I’d have to tell the truth.  I might not come right out and say your ass looks like a sheet cake from Costco, but I will tell you those jeans are not doing you any favors.  No, I don’t mean you, I mean hypothetically. Ha ha!

 The other day, I found a woman’s purse at the bus stop;  her address was inside and wow, was she surprised when I showed up at her door.  She acted like I was some kind of stalker.  People are strange, aren’t they?  No thanks or reward, just a door in the face.   

I’m glad I accidentally kept her lipstick.  Not that I wear lipstick, but still.

–the rest of this story is getting a makeover.  if you want to see the result, contact me for publishing!–

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Video Killed the Radio Star: 

Cindy Sherman/Creep: 

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About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.

17 comments

  1. Ooooh, I loved the voice in this piece. I really felt a strong presence of the character, and I could really hear her words in my mind as I read.

  2. Thank you! I don’t usually do first person, so this was fun for me. It’s interesting that you call the character a “she” and I wonder why– was it something in the writing or just because a woman wrote it? Hmmm…(stroking chin as if there were a beard). Thank you for reading!!

  3. I don’t know, maybe I don’t give her enough credit, but when my six-year-old asked what I was laughing out loud at, I just had to tell her “Something funny I read”, rather than the image of an ass that looks like “a sheet cake from Costco”. I thought this was autobiographical till I realized that you say you’ve never been published yet. No, you really couldn’t tell if it’s a man or woman who wrote, except that I see a woman snagging the lipstick (as a hedge against the possibility of not getting thanked, maybe?).

    I wonder, do you like the book “The Handmaid’s Tale”? I bought it at a rummage sale once, thought it was odd sci-fi that I probably wouldn’t like, but picked it off the shelf today and can hardly put it down.

    That’s one FLAT ass.

  4. Yes– I loved it so much I taught it. So good!!!! You scored a good one today.
    I’m glad you liked that image because I was trying to make the character accessible. Tee hee!
    And I find it very interesting that, so far, everyone assumes the speaker is female.
    Interesting….

  5. Love your writing! It really felt like I was sitting in the same room as the author, nodding along to him (for some reason I felt it was a male character). Till the line about the beautifully cut vintage suit framing the clavicles made me think it may just be a woman…

    Will be frequenting your other posts soon enough! 😀

  6. I like this story, and I revelled in all the details. Reading the comments here, I realize that I didn’t ‘get’ it either, even though I sensed that there was some sort of subtext (perhaps signaled by this, “But people are lazy. They want you to show them a diagram and point to exactly what they should think…”)

    I read it again and I realize now that it wasn’t subtext. It was the story. And now I know how people have felt when they’ve read something of mine and completely missed something I wanted to convey. (This is one of the reasons why I’ve resisted writing stand-alone poetry for so long.) It also makes me see how valuable it is to keep most versions of a specific work. I need them for comparison when I try to figure how to bridge the gap between what I want to say, and what the reader seems to need in order to absorb it. I practice that kind of rewrite often these days, often grudgingly, but even when I decide I don’t want to keep the change in story, I think it stretches my muscles to go back in and look for little things that might have actually been too ambiguous for the reader to come to a specific conclusion.

    I like that the speaker was telling the story. That also means that it can be loosely told– being that it’s the character’s own one-sided conversation. One thing I can say now, one writer to another, is that the phrase, “like overheated Dobermans…” gave me pause the first time I read this. That whole paragraph stopped me, so I read it twice the first time (I’m no genius, but maybe now I know why I did.) When I read overheated, I thought of being ‘in heat’ because it described dog behavior, and I never gave it a second thought. I can’t go back and read your story again for the first time, but I wonder if that specific turn of phrase could be fine-tuned? Unless you meant it to be taken more than one way, in which case I think I’m just not smart enough to have really understood this without the hint from you in the comments.

    The fact does remain that I liked this, as did your other commenters. (I like your writing voice, period!)

    • Thank you for your comments! How does one convey ambiguity without being ambiguous? I’ll have to muddle that one over. I chose vague details that could be read either way and perhaps I need to back it up with something more explicit. But to tell the truth, I’m sort of enjoying the confusion for now because it underlines the point I was going for– we all like things to be clearly defined because it makes it easier for us to proceed. But certainly, I’ll have to revisit this in a couple weeks to see if I can fine tune it, because the piece is nothing if the reader doesn’t see that the character is both male and female. Thank you for helping me work it through!!!

      • If one can be more than humbled, then that describes me right now. I feel like a cat staring at a television set. I hope you don’t mind if I regard this story as poetry for awhile, and simply admire its lilt. My brain hurts (from quite a few difficulties that have converged at the moment to scramble my life) so I’m sorry for my lack-of-sleep induced, premature ramblings above. Here’s to many more writing experiments to come.

  7. What a great combination of precise description and fuzzy, dreamlike narrative. I love the way you set it up in the first paragraph, admitting to “artistic embellishment.” Excellent writing.

  8. very odd and unsettling, guess that means i like it.

  9. I like this a lot. I’m a great fan of short stories. They are a special art – and I reckon you got it, Anna. Punchy voice, quirky incidents, and an attitude. Well done.

  10. LC

    Holy shit I adore this story.

  11. Pingback: Friday Open Mic! featuring Anna Fonté (Girl in the Hat) | the Satsumabug blog

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