Monday, July 14, 2014

"The Dog Year"

Ann Garvin is a professor of health and nutrition at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater; she also teaches creative writing in the Masters of Fine Arts program at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Garvin applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Dog Year, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Lucy dropped her head. "I love denial, I don’t know how I’d get through a day without it.” Lucy swallowed and said, “After my husband died." She stopped, held her hand up to signal Tig to wait. She tried again. "Richard had a penchant for reading obituaries. He cut out the more memorable deaths or photographs and tacked them to the fridge." She shrugged. "Sometimes it was a story he liked. Other times there was something about the face. It sounds morbid, I know. He saw it as a reminder to stay in the present." Lucy stared at the swirl in the carpet, heard her husband's voice, Life is what you do, Lucy my sweet. And you do it until you die.

"He liked to quote Zorba the Greek when he was being philosophical about life. The last obits he saved were photographs of two men, printed next to each other in the newspaper. Bob Grabben and Stanley Stolen died on the same day in August." She stopped, looked at Tig. "I remember wondering if Mr. Stolen or Mr. Grabben had ever shoplifted, self-fulfilling prophecy and all. I guess I started after that."

"You think your husband was giving you some kind of coping strategy?"

"A message from beyond? God no." Lucy paused and looked around the room. "That's all I got. I don't know. I had to do something."

"Are you going to keep taking stuff, Lucy? Do you think you can stop?”

Lucy's eyes drifted off and floated to a corner in the room. "Women like me. We aren't just given things. There's no one standing in line to help us hang a light fixture, change a tire."

"Women like you?"

"You wouldn't understand. You couldn't, not with your long neck and perfect eyebrows." Tig sat back. "Women like me," Lucy said, "We have to ask. Stand in line. Take."

"So, that's what you tell yourself? That’s your justification?"

Lucy scoffed. Closed her face like the door of a safe in an old western. Spun the lock shut. "I want to go back to work. When can I go back to work?"
It’s interesting that page 69 is very representative of the book. It is a conversation between Lucy after she has lost her husband and gotten herself in trouble. It’s so interesting that this pages touches on so many of the themes in the book. The only thing it doesn’t really show is the humor in this story writing. There is some imbedded here, the obituaries on the fridge the two men, who have funny names but that is all.

I’m actually mad about page 69 and I think I will use it in the future for reading.
Visit Ann Garvin's website.

Writers Read: Ann Garvin.

My Book, The Movie: The Dog Year.

--Marshal Zeringue