The Story Behind the Story: “Re-Up”

I’m always looking for things to write about, and I’ve often turned to family memories as a jumping off point. This particular story began as a poem. It settled in as a poem for a good while, a poem that told a story of a brief moment in the middle of the night, a story that happened in the dark with only the glow of the mother’s cigarette and the lit up hands of a clock visible. I do have a brother who was in Vietnam. Communicating much by phone wasn’t possible back then. We mostly mailed reel-to-reel tapes back and forth and wrote letters. Hard to imagine in the age of cell phones. So the story sat as a poem for at least a couple of years. I found an early version in a journal, and I realized I was reading it as a story, a prose story. I began to play with it, reinventing it as a prose piece, and I ended up liking it better that way.

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About Karen Loeb

Karen Loeb lives in western Wisconsin where she now teaches very part time, writes, and gardens during the cherished warm months. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Hanging Loose, Thema, The Main Street Rag, Carve, New Ohio Review and other magazines. In 2014 her story “Cantaloupe” won the Wisconsin People and Ideas fiction contest, and “The Walk to Makino” won an Editor’s Choice award in the Raymond Carver contest from Carve Magazine. Both stories are available online and in print. A poem of hers was given first place in the 2016 Wisconsin People and Ideas contest and has a July publication date.