Fourth Genre
 
Flash Nonfiction

“English History I.”  In Prime Number, Issue 53, April-June, 2014.

“Jackson.”  In Great Lakes Review.

“Night, Briggs Stadium, 1960...”  A Detroit Anthology, ed. Anna Clark. Rust Belt Chic Press, 2014.

Essays

“Out of the Woods.”  In Southern Sin. Lee Gutkind and Beth Ann Fennelly, eds. Philadelphia: InFact Books, 2014.

“The Messenger.” Chattahoochie Review, Fall/Winter 2013.

"The Auschwitz Photographer." Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, Volume 10, Number 1, Spring 2008, pp. 67-68.

"The Falling." Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 2004, p. 25.

"Oval." Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 2000, pp. 53-54.

Works in Progress

Manitou Passage

We boarded the idling bus in the dark, dragging the duffle bags we’d packed the night before. We had brushed our teeth and thrown cold water on our faces, but we were still buried in sleep, silent.  Frank, the camp’s ancient, irascible bus driver, cranked the bus doors shut and wrenched the gearshift into first.  As we rolled down the lane toward the camp entrance, most of us sank back into sleep, heads against our duffle bags. It seemed to take hours to get to Leland, but even as we pulled up to the dock the air was just beginning to fade to the gray before dawn. By now we were mostly awake, stumbling off the bus, blinking and sniffing the fishy, watery air. We filed onto the boat, found seats, and began buckling on the bulky orange life jackets as our counselors instructed. Another long wait and the boat’s engines ground to life. As we chugged out of the mouth of the Carp River, the wind off the big lake quickly swallowed the harbor smells, swallowed our voices and our breath. The water was beginning to shine in pale yellow-pink sunlight. Above us, bleating gulls floated and banked.

Within the ornately structured universe of Camp, our other lives in Cleveland Heights or Bloomfield Hills fell away like dreams.  Camp rituals and nomenclature assumed an absolute reality.  The week’s calm order of classes, meals, songs, evening entertainments, and cabin life was broken by the occasional day or overnight expedition elsewhere around northwest Lower Michigan.  We never knew and never wondered how these trips were scheduled; a list simply appeared in the Lodge. But we did understand the hierarchy.  Little kids went to the Cherry Farms overnight, sleeping among someone’s fruit trees on the Mission Peninsula, which bisects Grand Traverse Bay.  Slightly older girls went on “the Boardman”—a day trip by barge down the river of the same name, which curls through Grand Traverse County.  The oldest and most accomplished canoers got tapped to go on “The Manistee”—a three-day canoe expedition down that more serious river.  Between the Boardman and the Manistee was what we called “the Manitou,” an overnight on South Manitou Island.

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  © 2014 Gail Griffin.   All rights reserved.   Contact Gail by e-mailing gail@gailgriffin.org.