Coming Soon! A collection of nonfiction works by Stephanie Harrison: Men from a Broken Country

Running Dispute

It all comes down, she thinks, to this simple fact: wide piles are bad and tall piles are good; for example, he maintains a stack of newspapers on the living room coffee table, occasionally beside, but often on top of what she has been reading-(this week he's buried The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)-and his pile, she has to admit, is both neat and chronological, but usually rather tall; also, on the kitchen counter, he has two (but sometimes three, four or more) piles: right now one is birthday cards (his birthday was two months ago) and the other is bills (unfortunately, also rather tall), but in a month or so there will be, at minimum, an additional pile containing tax forms and another of golf equipment catalogs, and so, perhaps, it is not just that tall piles are good, but that tall, homogeneous piles are good, because, she notes, her piles are clearly of the heterogeneous sort, composed of leftover or hard-to-put-away things, like takeout menus, spare socks, and photographs of their trip to Nantucket that she's been meaning to frame, and thus her piles, in addition to being wide, are both eclectic and portable, since she doesn't mind dumping them into a laundry basket in order to hide them in a closet when people come over; and so, she concludes, it must all come down to this: it is not just that tall, homogeneous piles are good, but that tall, homogeneous, stationary piles are good--but it also comes down, she feels, to something else entirely, to an expanding certainty that they are making, out of 1040s and metro sections, the odd joker or two--what else?--mountains.

©Stephanie Harrison, first published in Denver Quarterly

Selected Works

You crossed the line, my friend Ann tells me. Iím visiting her in California. Weíve borrowed a trailer perched on a small mountain so that we can have a quiet place to write. Now Iím trying to explain why I canít focus, why my nerves are so jangly. Why I can only take short, shallow breaths ...
He reads Ragtime while being poisoned by a nurse with a woodpecker tattooed on her ankle, and afterwards he describes this to Lily over hamburgers and beer--he is ravenous (go figure)--and she chuckles...
Effortless, like floating in the Great Salt Lake. Forty years ago, as a boy, Zach McKenna did this while on vacation in Utah, and he's never forgotten the sensation of lying still on the surface of the water, arms and legs spread wide, perfectly buoyant. Lately he's been thinking that in the span of a lifetime, these moments are too...
This is how I remember it: I'm ten or eleven, lounging with my cousins and Aunt Corinne on her sun porch. She's wearing a pink Chanel-style dress, like Jackie Kennedy, and she's sipping iced tea from a hot-pink metal tumbler. She's just discovered, she tells usthat someone is living in her house while she and my uncle are at work. Her crossed legs are bare and one of them jiggles up and down while she talks. As she grows more excited--telling us about her strange feeling, the little things she couldn't put her finger on...