Excerpt from the first chapter of a novel, Joplin, published on UEA’s New Writing website
The summer I was twenty-one I figured I’d marry Art Carson. I settled on it in the double parlour at Verna Hobbes’ house, the day she married Alden Shirley, when the dance music treacled and I got stuck against the wallpaper with Art’s sister.
It was late and the wedding party had sprawled past its welcome—from the lawn and into the house, straggled in toppled glasses and shoeless girls across Mrs. Hobbes’ new rugs. The bride and groom had left hours before, bundled into Alden’s automobile. We’d heard the cans on their bumper chattering all the way to the Connor on Fourth. The hired band played romantic tunes, to keep our minds turned that way, to the honeymoon suite: “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” with strings like a sick cat. “Keep the love-light glowing in your eyes so true.”