truman copote

Marth Clarkson

spent her professional career designing workplaces for corporate headquarters. She receives mail in Kirkland, Washington and now focuses her time on writing and photography.

She writes poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction and has published in such journals as Seattle Review, Rattle, Portland Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Feminine Rising, Mothering Magazine and many others as well as having two notable stories in Best American Non-Required Reading. The podcast story was the winner of Anderbo’s 2012 Writing Contest.

Her photography has won awards and been published in many literary and photography magazines.

For over a decade she drove a dragon-red Vespa to work. She corresponds with friends on one of five cherished typewriters. Yes, there’s an IBM Selectric, and it is olive, in case you were wondering.

You can find her at marthaclarkson.com.

Fiction

Her Voices, Her Room: An Encounter with Truman Capote

written by Marth Clarkson

In this short story, Marjorie signs up for a writing retreat and finds herself an outcast amidst a gaggle of young, eager authors. But one evening, over a few drinks with the group, she has an unexpected “fifteen minutes of fame” in the micro spotlight of the writing workshop. As she shares a secret talent with the group, she flashes back to an encounter she once had with Truman Capote.

© 2012 Martha Clarkson | Recording © 2021 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

Feeling warm and bold from the Scotch and Valium, Marjorie sat forward in her chair and, when the cacophony died down, said, “I’ll do an imitation of Truman Capote if you like.”

On the day of Truman Capote’s next trip to Garden City, Marjorie planned to drive the Dodge downtown and be on the platform to meet his train. She knew there would be a crowd, but she was determined to stride right up to him and introduce herself.

 

“Oh hell!” she said. She enjoyed swearing, and alone in the car was one of the few times she got the chance. Sometimes she’d get behind the wheel and say things like, “Dammit, you whoring son of a bitch,” just because she could.

Truman released her wrist and let his gaze quickly sweep the room. “I imagine you have something to drink in this place?” he said.

rift zone

Martha Clarkson spent her professional career designing workplaces for corporate headquarters. She receives mail in Kirkland, Washington and now focuses her time on writing and photography.

She writes poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction and has published in such journals as Seattle Review, Rattle, Portland Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Feminine Rising, Mothering Magazine and many others as well as having two notable stories in Best American Non-Required Reading. The podcast story was the winner of Anderbo’s 2012 Writing Contest.

Her photography has won awards and been published in many literary and photography magazines.

For over a decade she drove a dragon-red Vespa to work. She corresponds with friends on one of five cherished typewriters. Yes, there’s an IBM Selectric, and it is olive, in case you were wondering.

You can find her at marthaclarkson.com.

 

Q&A with Sarah

Tell us about your story...

The story takes place in a creaky old inn on the coast, where writers have gathered for a Haiku workshop. Marjorie, in her mid-seventies and by far the oldest of the bunch, has the talent of imitating Truman Capote, and as the story unfolds, her traumatic past is revealed.

What was the inspiration for this story?

I attended a writing workshop very much like this many years ago, where a woman similar to the character Marjorie came out of her shell on the last night and did imitation of Truman Capote. It was so out of character for the woman we thought we knew, and the imitations were so spot on, we all roared with laughter. She was really good! I wanted to expand the story, to dive into her as a character.

Who has most influenced your writing?

There are too many wonderful storytellers to name here, but some of my favorites include John Cheever, Shirley Hazzard, Graham Greene, Adam Johnson, James Salter, Lorrie Moore, Valerie Trueblood, Emily Dickinson, and specifically, T.C. Boyle’s story Balto.

What have you recently read that you loved?

Shirley Hazzard’s People in Glass Houses,which is a collection of linked stories set in the corporate world in the 60s. I spent the last two decades in corporate America, as a designer, and these stories are improbably current because of her deft skill at the portrayal of corporate machinations, without specifics yet full of specifics. It’s a talent to make that subject timeless.

 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I bowl in a league when we’re not in a pandemic. I was on my university’s bowling team and also taught bowling there. I play tennis and golf and spend much time reading and shooting photos and trying to wrestle photography editing software to the ground. I love movies.

What's the best thing that's happend to you recently?
Retirement from the design world. My career choice was perfect for me, but I love having all of my time devoted to writing and photography and playing sports. To basically doing whatever I want.
Tomorrow, I absolutely refuse to...

…figure out what day it is. Once you retire, it’s hard to keep track. I’ll take a break tomorrow.

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Marth Clarksonspent her professional career designing workplaces for corporate headquarters. She receives mail in Kirkland, Washington and now focuses her time on writing and photography. She writes poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction and has published in such journals as Seattle Review, Rattle, Portland Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Feminine Rising, Mothering Magazine and many others as...

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