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This Week’s Confessions: Fact or Fiction? Featured Author

Posted on | June 21, 2011 | No Comments

For this week’s Confessions: Fact or Fiction? featured author, we are proud to present one of the editors of the book, Marian O’Shea Wernicke. I worked closely with Marian to find potential authors for the anthology of short stories and memoir. She was a tremendously helpful partner throughout the process. She also plans to read at the June 30th reading at Left Bank Books. Her piece in the collection is entitled The Tattletale. I invite you to comment about whether it was Fact or Fiction. Enjoy! 

Marian O’Shea Wernicke has been the faculty editor of The Hurricane Review, a national literary magazine published by Pensacola State College, for the past seven years. She is a recently retired professor of English at the college, and participated at the Sewanee Writers Conference in workshop with Maxine Kumin and Mark Jarman. She writes poetry and fiction and is now working on a memoir about her father.

Excerpt from The Tattletale

My cousin Joe has been dead for years now, but I sometimes wish I could talk to him about a certain summer and ask him if I really ruined his life.

Several summers in a row when I was between eight and ten years old, I spent a week at my aunt and uncle’s house in north St. Louis. My two cousins, Nancy and Joe, were much older than I, already out of high school and working. Nancy treated me like a favorite pet, and I relished the spoiling I didn’t get at home from my busy, often pregnant mother. Joe, who mostly ignored me, was a tall, handsome guy in his early twenties, always rushing out to play ball or pick up his fiancee, Sue.

One hot July night during one of these visits, when the locusts were buzzing in the tall elm trees that lined Marcus Avenue, Aunt Helen asked Joe to keep an eye on me while she went to St. Englebert’s to play bingo. Uncle Al was already snoring in their stifling downstairs bedroom. I saw Joe wince, and heard him mutter, “Aw, Mom! Steve and I had plans tonight.”

“Don’t worry,” I piped up. “I’ll sit in the back seat and be quiet as a mouse.” Joe groaned. We dropped Aunt Helen off at church, and soon Joe and I were on our way down the street in his old blue Chevy to pick up Steve. The guys sat in front smoking, their white t-shirts rolled up high on tanned, muscular arms, cigarettes propped rakishly behind their ears. I was in heaven. Only ten and out with two guys who looked and sounded like James Dean!

(Okay, what do you think, readers? Is this fact or fiction? Meet Marian next Thursday 6/30 at Left Bank Books in St. Louis’s Central West End.)


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