January 2014 cover image

January 2014 Cover

This page collects my posts about Matt Potter’s ambitious 2014 series  from Pure Slush Books.

I will be reading one story each day, and commenting here about the experience. I hope you will join the discussion.


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2014 – December 11 – All the Little Labels

It’s the 11th, and we’re reading “All the Little Labels” by Jessica McHugh.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “The truth will free you.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Nelson Wade loads a box into the moving van. Falling snow hits his nose, and he rubs the cold spot as he faces Edward McKenzie.

“It’s going to be weird without you around, Father.”

Edward clamps a pink mitten to Nelson’s shoulder. “You don’t have to call me that anymore. I’m just plain old Edward now.” He flips his blonde wig and bats his eyelashes. “With a touch of flair, of course.”

I’ve been a fan of The Face in the Jar since the first installment. Father McKenzie Continue reading

2014 – December 10 – Oranges

On the 10th, we’re reading “Oranges” by Susan Tepper.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Rumination:  “Nothing rhymes with oranges; oranges have no one to turn to.”[/cryout-pullquote]

“When your mind is made up, it’s made up,” Pedersen tells the white rat. Swoon, on the arm of the chair, nibbles Frito crumbs out of Pedersen’s palm. “If you were a man I’d expect you to understand. But you’re not. You’re a third-world rodent. That white fur won’t save your ass.”

And so Saturdays suck, and also Sundays begins to draw its grease-stained trench coat closed. This series has been pretty amazing in the way it has dragged us slowly, kicking and screaming Continue reading

2014 – December 9 – Relationships and Rules

On the 9th, we’re reading “Relationships and Rules” by Gill Hoffs.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “It’s not work if you love it.”[/cryout-pullquote]

I’m meant to be seeing Trudi at the salon today for some festive fanny-hair, probably a Christmas tree or a snowflake , but instead of a wax I’m sat in Zoe’s chair in the office, spinning round while she nips for a wee or worse and I cover the (thankfully silent) phone. We’d been discussing the best manicure for a work-wank, which finishes would survive a strum, whether glued-on crystals can come off, and the horrors of acrylics and nail piercings, so perhaps it’s just all Continue reading

2014 – December 8 – Christmas Fettucine

It’s the 8th and we’re reading “Christmas Fettucine” by Rachel Ambrose.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “It’s the ghost of Christmas pasta.”[/cryout-pullquote]

“It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cuttin’ down trees …” The melancholy lyrics of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ wend their languorous, sad way out of my sister Molly’s speakers. We’ve decided to have a classic tree-trimming party complete with English crackers (which explode), American crackers (which hopefully do not), and altogether too much mulled wine for a Monday evening. But Molly’s longtime girlfriend has just walked out on her. Sometimes an older sister needs a younger sister to watch Miracle on 34th Street with her and feed her inordinate Continue reading

2014 – December 7 – Ant

Day seven means we’re reading “Ant” by Andrew Stancek.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The  Ramey Ramble:  “Where there is will, there is way.”[/cryout-pullquote]

The body is leeched of colour. The creases around the eyes and nose have smoothed; the mouth is freed of the howls.

The monitor blips brain activity but the chest does not rise and fall.

Antiseptic silence. A pale blue vase on the night table holds wilted remnants of a white sweet pea, edges curled.

Thus does the body become the tomb. In our verve to understand and imitate Adam, we have destroyed him. And so the wonderfully challenging Wingy Continue reading

2014 – December 6 – Fleeting

It’s the sixth day and we’re reading “Fleeting” by Lynn Beighley.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “It’s been real.”[/cryout-pullquote]

“You’re her, aren’t you? That one from that reality show, You Tell Me?” I turn from the rack of blouses to see a skinny, overly made up sales girl smiling at me. “You are! Oh. My. God. This is so cool! Look, can we take a selfie? No one will believe this.”

Fame is fleeting, they say, but so is obscurity in this funny, heartfelt series. All Jenn has wanted from the very beginning was to be left to live her own life. And love. Romantic love. Respect? Yeah that Continue reading

2014 – December 5 – Ivory

On day 5 we’re reading “Ivory” by John Wentworth Chapin.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Curiouser and curiouser.” (from Alice in Wonderland)[/cryout-pullquote]

A tote of cleaning supplies rests on the kitchen counter above a messy bundle of coat hangers and an over-filled trash can. White rectangles pop from the walls, nuclear shadows of dethroned artwork outlined by dirt and grease . Everything he’s taking with him is in his car.

The aptly named Kaleidoscope series has taken us on a strange and wonderful journey with Charles who may or may not be a reliable narrator. We’ve witnessed miraculous loss, transcendence via a Catholic church in India, remarkable recovery from paralysis, Continue reading

2014 – December 4 – Chanukah

Two Chanukah candlesOn the fourth day, we’re reading “Chanukah” by Gloria Garfunkel.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “Quality assured, Ralph.  Thank you.”[/cryout-pullquote]

Bipolar Ralph here. It’s a month since my father’s death / suicide. My father always loved Chanukah the best of Jewish holidays because it was totally joyous despite the Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem . He loved the miracle of one candle in oil lasting eight nights and the renewal of the Temple. He always bought everyone presents, me, my five siblings and Continue reading

2014 – December 3 – Farewell to Loved Ones

It’s the third day and we’re reading “Farewell to Loved Ones” by Derek Osborne.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “This connection will never be broken.”[/cryout-pullquote]

“No Eddie, I will be fine,” Rebecca says, “I just need this time to be alone.”

Eddie closes the cabin door. Rebecca can hear him walking back down the passageway. It is freezing cold aboard Gadabout but she does not feel it; she is wearing the foul weather gear Max had specially made for her, the brown knit cap they bought that day on Martha’s Vineyard , the silk t-shirt her mother insisted upon.

Falling in Love With Rebecca Vasquez is a series I will Continue reading

2014 – December 2 – La Ronde / Frank and Madge

Day 2, and we’re reading “La Ronde / Alexei and Frank” by Townsend Walker.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Ramey Ramble:  “What goes around comes around.”[/cryout-pullquote]

A month has passed since Frank figured out Madge had a price on his head and not one of those days has passed without him thinking about how to do her in first. It had to be tight: he knew, no-doubt-about-it, she’d told her friend Gina-the-bitch about how he’d slap her from time to time. Not that Madge didn’t deserve it, but it wouldn’t look good if they also suspected him of her death. He pretty much had it figured out, but then Thanksgiving rolled Continue reading