i’m re-reading a collection of shorts BULL HEAD by John Vigna. what a collection. the writer’s unflinching scrutiny of the brutality of small town life in the Crowsnest Pass is something else. beautiful and painful. here’s an excerpt from a story called ‘Gas Bar’:
“And then what?” She wipes her eyes and nose on the sheet.
“You do what anyone else does. You carry on.”
“Carry on?” She shakes her head sadly, steps across the room, her blanched skin stained black and red with bruises and welts on her back, thighs, calves. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to take a bath to warm up before I carry on.” As she passes the mirror he notices the front of her body is scarred by more welts and bruises. The girls turns on the light and closes the door. She sets the toilet set down. Moments later, the toilet flushes and the bath starts. He is surprised that the sounds comfort him.
Vigna isn’t afraid. he’s staring something in the face and documenting it. i admire his tenacity and wonder how best to capture it within myself. writing is hard and writing the truth, harder still.
i’m a ex-small town girl and leaving was a moment i’ll remember forever: i was filled with relief. the microscope of small town living was difficult–whether i waved at/stopped and talked to/ignored my neighbour or not defined me. but i had it easy. there are many stories from this time that i want to write that frighten me.
what frightens you?