Quitter #7: November



Trace Ramsey’s All I Want to Do is Live (Pioneer’s Press, 2017), personalizes common themes of survival, depression, and life in America at a time of division and upheaval. In this collection of essays, flash nonfiction, and poetry, Ramsey examines his family history and shows us how darkness can trickle through generations. He looks to people like his grandparents and his partner for hope and works to move beyond abuse and mental illness to find what is worth passing on to his children. In a unique voice of clean, deliberate prose, he relays stories about the damage of the past and recovery in the present that is both brutal and achingly pretty. As the personal often sheds light on the universal, Trace’s memories of his childhood and the scenes from his life today also give us the story of our time, our country, and a people longing to find substance, freedom, and meaning. The following excerpt is the second in a series from the chapbook “Quitter #7 (2013).” For part one, see Quitter #7.

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I grew up knowing that come November there would be a deer hanging somewhere in the front yard, probably by the antlers or the neck and probably from the branch of a tree. Or maybe hanging out of the bed of the pickup truck. Or from a rafter in the dirt floor garage.

I knew that the stories of how that “big buck” came to be dead would be floating around the house until they could be recited, with all the groan inducing embellishments, by people in the house who could say nothing in return. This was my step-father’s personal mythology, another way to blanket us with his control. I could probably dig deep enough to remember one or two of those stories, but who gives a shit really?

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