Posted in Short Stories

Crystal Wilkinson: Peace of Mind

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 23

I am sitting here on vacation in my own damn house on a Saturday afternoon trying to have peace of mind.

In “Peace of Mind”, Crystal Wilkinson presents light, comedic telephone calls to effectively show the tension and hectic life that the narrator tries to escape.

Her friend, Peaches, her children at camp and her ex husband all intrude into her peace of mind until she eventually leaves the phone under a pillow. I’m guessing that the story is set prior to cell phones. I could imagine a cell phone providing more tension but maybe not as much comedy.

Part of the comedy is that with each phone call, the narrator gets more determined to obtain this peace of mind.

This story is included in Wilkinson’s collection Blackberries, Blackberries. I read it when I selected the of Queen of Diamonds for Week 23 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

Posted in Short Stories

Crystal Wilkinson: Mine

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 22

He didn’t like his women in loud colors. Brought on too much attention.

Crystal Wilkinson’s short story “Mine” doesn’t glorify Joe Scruggs’ tendency to objectify the physical attributes of the women he dates. But it just sort of presents Joe as Joe. He is what he is in a manner of speaking.

Joe pretty much takes up the entire story but through his eyes we get a quick glimpse of Racine, one of Joe’s exes. She’s the one that changes – wears bright clothes all of a sudden, cuts her hair, adjusts some of the physical attributes Joe admires.

While Joe stays Joe, Racine moves on, grows in a different direction.

This story is included in Wilkinson’s collection Blackberries, Blackberries. I read it when I selected the Ten of Diamonds for Week 22 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

Posted in Short Stories

Crystal Wilkinson: Mules

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 20

‘Mules is stubborn,’ Daddy said, laughing. ‘Guess that’ll be a lesson to you.’

Crystal Wilkinson’s “Mules” is a disturbing story involving two young girls and an older man. At the end, there’s what could be considered a slight plot twist or maybe even a punch line of sorts. The twist ends the story on at least a slightly positive note. But the disturbing part is still…disturbing. It’s not surprising that Wilkinson juggles both of these “moods” quite well.

On a different note, a congratulations to Crystal Wilkinson who has been named Kentucky’s Poet Laureate for 2021-2022. You can read about it here.

This story is included in Wilkinson’s collection Blackberries, Blackberries. I read it when I selected the Seven of Diamonds for Week 20 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

Posted in Short Stories

Crystal Wilkinson: Tipping the Scales

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 17

Crystal Wilkinson’s “Tipping the Scales” doesn’t have the same poetic elegance of the last two stories of hers that I’ve read (“Mr” and “Ritual”) but it has a beauty and charm all its own.

Josephine Childs works at a diner in Stanford, Kentucky. One might call her an outcast but I’m not sure that’s the correct word. Josephine is the subject of gossip – probably constant gossip – because of her relationship with various men, many of whom are married.

The difference in this story is that the narrator appears to be one of the town gossips telling Josephine’s story in their own words with their own dialect. This perspective makes for a pleasant realization to the reader that Josephine gets a sort of revenge when a respectable man comes and sweeps her off her feet letting her finally live happily ever after in the site of her little town – a town that understands a little that maybe there’s more to Josephine than they’ve allowed. Josephine tips the scales in her favor:

And Ashe all dressed in white, a smile ‘cross his face a mile long, his voice booming out vows to love Josephine forever. All three of her kids stood up with her, a sight to see. And the whole town ’bout tipped over with everybody traveling to the edge, bending their ears to the door.

This story is included in Wilkinson’s collection Blackberries, Blackberries. I read it when I selected the Eight of Diamonds for Week 17 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

Posted in Short Stories

Crystal Wilkinson: Mr

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 13

Tainted goodbye whispers as the sun crept in bringing brand new.

Oh my goodness! What a story and what a short story! Again, Crystal Wilkinson packs in so much sadness and beauty and poetry into two pages. And not only that, she packs so much characterization into three characters within these two pages.

There’s the Mr of the title and then there’s Fannie and Jake. The relationship between the three runs deep and intertwined. They move back and forth between resistance and acceptance, gains and losses. And I’ll say it again – it’s only two pages.

This story is included in Wilkinson’s collection Blackberries, Blackberries. I read it when I selected the Jack of Diamonds for Week 13 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

Posted in Short Stories

Crystal Wilkinson: Ritual

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 2

See our world through the shapes of clouds. Watch the blue of the Indian Creek sky. We hope that motherhood will swoop down on the backs of blue jays.

Kentucky author Crystal Wilkinson’s short story “Ritual” is only three pages long but is miraculous in how much beauty and poetry and life it contains. The narrator’s imaginings of potential motherhood encompasses remembrances of her childhood, a brief flashback to her wedding and the love she has for her husband who doesn’t fully understand her thoughts.

Based on this story, I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories in Wilkinson’s collection Blackberries, Blackberries. I read this story when I selected the Six of Diamonds for Week 2 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.