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Let's Do

Rebecca Meacham

Publication Year: 2004

In the nine stories of Let’s Do, various calamities strike ordinary Midwesterners, who cope with a mixture of good intentions and ineptitude. Balancing humor with painful clarity, author Rebecca Meacham pulls readers into the lives of characters who struggle with—and more often against—change. “Rebecca Meacham has one of the freshest voices I've encountered in a long time. Blatantly wise, she creates stories that are deliciously subversive, brave and outrageous, reminiscent of a young Alice Hoffman. As the lives of her characters get derailed, they move with the damaged grace of walking through broken glass on tiptoe. This is a writer whose words speak with emotional resonance about the resilience of the human heart—a beautiful, authentic talent who knows that when you turn life upside down, you get good measures of both trouble and laughter, a lesson the very best writers recognize early.”—Jonis Agee, judge

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Series Title Page

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Title Page

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Table of Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

For their encouragement, wit, and love, I thank my mother, Ruth Meacham, and my father, David Meacham. I am grateful for the kindness of my stepmother, Kay Meacham, and the endless generosity of the Duemey, Meacham, Rybak, and Santomauro families. For sharing their stories...

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Trim & Notions

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pp. 1-28

All afternoon, I’ve watched boy after boy impersonate middle-aged gamblers. I’m helping my friends Alan and Geneva cast the Valley County High School musical. Alan teaches English literature and Geneva teaches choir, while I’m a K-through-6 art teacher next door at County Elementary. Alan...

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Good Fences

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pp. 29-47

Bill’s mailbox, an old country thing, flagarmed and rusting, perches at the edge of his property across from an abandoned red schoolhouse. His wife Lynn complains that the mailbox is tacky; Bill tells her it’s rustic. To make his point, on the side of the box, he has stenciled their last name in...

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Weights and Measures

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pp. 48-62

How He Tells You: When your Dad says Sit down, I have something to tell you, you imagine he’ll say: I’ve lost my job, we’re moving, you’re starting eighth grade in Vermont. His voice has that somethingbad’s- coming sound, and he stoops to pick something off...

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Let's Do

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pp. 63-87

Estelle hadn’t meant to sleep with the interviewer, but here she was, underneath him, watching his furry back heave and shudder. It was 3:30 on a Tuesday. The afternoon light leaked through the dank hotel drapes. She hadn’t really looked at the room until now, as the interviewer labored and she...

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The Assignment

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pp. 88-108

“Ineed you to attack me.” Carter’s girlfriend Jen said this as she was warming up for aerobics. She sat on the floor with her legs splayed in a way that looked both hot and impossible, stretching over one leg, then the other. At the moment, she was talking to her ankle. Carter wasn’t...

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Worship For Shut-Ins

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pp. 109-133

It isn’t really the pain that sticks, or the car careening towards her, or the slow, horrific realization that no one is at the wheel. It is the sound of the impact that Valerie can’t shake: the startled yelp of her dog Cass being hit, then crushed to death. At night, when she falls into a drugged netherworld...

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Tom and Georgia Come Over to Swim

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pp. 134-146

The night is too humid and still for the fan, but Pauline needs sound, the hum of blades slicing air. She twists the knob on the GE stand-up to “high,” then spins around to cool the backs of her knees. Strips of red and pink plastic fly from the fan, circling and flickering over her skin like minnows. Last...

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Simple as That

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pp. 147-160

If she is to grieve, Lila reasons, she will do so Hollywood-style, with exaggerated gestures, crescendoing sobs, flowing gowns that sweep her ankles. After searching her closet for diva-wear, she wraps herself in a pink bathrobe the shade and texture of marshmallow candy. The robe...

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Hold Fast

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pp. 161-181

Because he worries she might be drinking, Ted calls his daughter on Sunday night. The machine picks up and he begins to speak, awkwardly and with some reluctance, as he always does when he leaves messages. He doesn’t trust digital technology and holds on to ancient, dependable appliances until...


E-ISBN-13: 9781574414110
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574411850

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction

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Subject Headings

  • Middle West -- Social life and customs -- Fiction.
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