The Tale-Tellers of Shortwater (Paperback)
Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 9781468149333, 160pp.
Publication Date: October 10, 2012
Shortwater, a ghost town in the Oregon desert, holds prickly memories that still bristle the necks of the misfits and loiterers who hang out at Peewee's Mercantile. An oral history of the people in this remote area has been recited over the years, but many questions have never been answered. Who burned Peewee's tavern that housed the rosewood nymphs? Who is smoking the 3,000 year old chert pipe? Why did the guru run away from his own "intentional community"? Why did his son, Marion, who had been abandoned at the childcare cooperative as a toddler, return to Shortwater?
The little band of community outreach, adult-learning writers each in his or her own way tries to make sense of the past in a writing class under the tutelage of a crippled, ex-school teacher cowboy/poet who can't ride anymore. The sheepherder writes a vampire tale, the produce delivery woman writes a history, the ranch hand writes a memoir, Marion, an unreliable narrator, recites an oral narrative, and everybody from Lost Forest to Stinking Water Pass adds another layer to the tale.