The Clare Stories



It’s been 15 years since I’ve written fiction. I used to joke that I was the most well-regarded unpublished fiction writer in America, with editors at major magazines and publishing houses saying I was swell, just not ready to hang their hats on.  Obviously that wasn’t true but the rejection letters were things of beauty.  Anyway, I retreated, just couldn’t take the hell, a true coward of a writer.

Non-fiction saved me from a lot of things and I haven’t considered ever writing fiction again.  I tried to make peace with the evidence that I didn’t have the creative talent, the imaginative sense, the abilities you need to inhabit another’s world. You have to do all this with non-fiction, too, but there isn’t as much of a risk–the high-wire act–that there is in attempting fiction.  Facts give you boundaries; fiction gives you air–frightening air.   I don’t know why  Clare and her friend suddenly started to bother me, why I just needed to  explain what it is like to be two teenage girls starting out on life.   They are girls who don’t shy away from adventure, who at the moment aren’t locked into anything.  The world is already imposing on them but it’s to be seen if they falter. All and nothing is at stake and they are teetering. I guess that’s where I am too with fiction, teetering.

I don’t know if these stories are good or not. All those editors may have been right–maybe fiction isn’t right for a writer like me.  But you know, I don’t care anymore. You have to keep trying, right?  What’s there to lose?

The stories are posted at

Let it rip….


Published by

pat willard

Grew up in Philadelphia. Live in Brooklyn. Written four books best described as about memory and cultural history, food and some pretty good recipes. Works in progress may be viewed at

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