I’d been asleep for hours, curled around my sister’s yellow blanket when a muffled call pushed its way into my brain.
“Siobhan? Siobhan?” My father’s words came to me as though I were underwater. “Where’s your sis—” I rolled over.
“Krissy?” My father’s face loomed over me, confused
I heard him before I saw him—Marpha’s town crier. His voice was low, booming, and it carried his slow articulation through the streets of Marpha until they hit me where I sat in the sunshine. Then I saw him, walking with his hands secured behind his back, yelling as he went. Announcements, someone told me.
I run. Miles and miles and miles stretch out in front of me like the unraveling of a life. I run. Through woods and parks, along beaches, paths, and asphalt. At first I couldn’t do it alone. Running was too many miles and all that quiet. I enlisted my boyfriend’s help and we ran together. His breathing matched mine. Traversing the Sierra Nevada mountains where he lived. Winding through the New York City streets where I lived.
Erica Trabold is a Portland writer and teacher who grew up in Stromsburg, the Swedish capital of Nebraska. Her debut collection of lyric essays, Five Plots (Seneca Review Books, 2018) explores place and the concept of “home,” among other themes.
Q: What do you like most about teaching Building a Scene?
A: My brain thinks cinematically. When I picture my stories, I envision them on film. What scene would the film open up with? What angles capture the best light? What fabulous actress is going to play me? What fabulous villain will play my mother? Etc., etc., etc. This class gives me an opportunity to sink deeper into that space with some of my favorite kinds of people—writers. Stories are better in writing than on film because we get to play every role, the director, casting director, producer, director of photographer, stunt double, and so on.