Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Ann Tweedy reads Erin Pringle's Unexpected Weather Events

You've likely heard me read a number of poems by Ann Tweedy on Wake to Words. I happily met her work when we read together at a Hugo House reading, and the two of us later read at Last Word Books in Olympia, WA. Now she lives in the Dakotas, so I'll need to make a trek out there to read with her again. One of the best parts of our writership or frienwrit is the support we give each other's work. Although it's not typical for fiction writers to have poets blurb their books, I'm not typical and neither is Ann. So, when I asked if she'd read Unexpected Weather Events and blurb it, she said yes. I had no idea, of course, that she would write something as beautiful as this, and I'm absolutely honored and humbled. Because Ann Tweedy tells the truth, make no mistake.

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Ann Tweedy, on UNEXPECTED WEATHER EVENTS

In prose rich in metaphor, Pringle masterfully and hauntingly narrates the interior lives of children and adults facing life’s greatest struggles. Pringle’s characters are inspiring and courageous as they encounter unthinkable catastrophes. 

In these stories, we see from the eyes of children watching a parent die from cancer, witnessing a parent’s ongoing struggle with mental illness and the debilitating effects of medication, and experiencing a holocaust-like mass killing of residents in their town. We see adult characters who escaped horrific childhoods question the viability of their own happy lives to the point that everything begins to crumble. 

Pringle’s stories deftly and unsentimentally address heartbreaking and sometimes taboo topics like the grief of miscarriage and the destructive force of homophobia. Often, the lines between reality and delusion blur, and the reader becomes unnervingly ensnared in the protagonist’s confusion. 

Many of the stories are quintessentially Midwestern, infused with wide cornfields and an ethos of practicality and personal limitation that is brought into stark relief by Pringle’s uncritical presentation. Pringle’s many gifts as a writer are in full force here. Particularly striking is Pringle’s ability to powerfully and convincingly evoke a child’s point of view. As always, Pringle’s work will break you open and at the same time fortify you.

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