Throughout 2013, we're going to check up on four listeners who made creative resolutions for the New Year and were brave enough to go public with them. Michael Relland is a music teacher who's planning his own recital; Ariel Lautman is going to learn woodworking; Charlie Capp is illustrating an epic poem in graphic form.
Our final listener, Linda Brewer of Tucson, is a writer of short fiction who won a Raymond Carver Award for a story about beekeepers. She wants to tell the stories of people's lives in the American West, but her literary ambitions have been sidelined by life – family, work, and more work.
Linda is an office administrator in a skin cancer lab, and she says she's feeling her age. "I'm no spring chicken," she tells Kurt Andersen. "If I just sit around and bemoan the fact that I don't have time to do this, it's going to be ridiculous."
This year, Linda will write a short story every month and try to publish them. She has never tackled a project of this scale, but has plenty of ideas. "I've met a lot of people in the Western United States in interesting pursuits who live in interesting places geographically," she tells Kurt. "It'll be fun to write about them."
Here is an excerpt from the story Linda wrote in January:
The thrift shop clerk, a plump girl in a gingham sundress, sorted through the suits and cashmere sweaters and offered Catherine an insulting amount of money. "Or you could take it in trade. You'd get fifty per cent more," she said. She stroked Howard's blue silk tie, an old Valentine's Day gift, with appraising fingers. Catherine glanced around the shop, pretending to consider. She didn't even want to touch the limp blouses and jeans, let alone wear them. Bedbugs, she thought. Crab lice. She accepted the few dollars and left feeling panic rise in her chest. The end was not nigh. The end had arrived.
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