Build Me A House To Dwell In is a collection of short stories or novellas of women living in Los Angeles County. These women may appear at first as stereotypical: the old starlet, the single mom, the surly teen, the carpool surburban mom, but as each story unfolds a reality of the lives women live in the midst of the sun drenched, glitter ensconced, plastic, heavily made-up backdrop that is Southern California emerges.
Table Of Contents: (Subject to change. Of course, I’m still working on it….)
Story One: Match Girl – Story about a young woman who works in a supermarket and her interactions with the people who come to shop. Main interaction of the story takes place at 1 a.m. and revolves around her and a customer who happens to be an ex-monk who was asked to leave his religious order because he had a nervous breakdown and the order just couldn’t deal with his emotional challenges. This ex-monk is trying his best to acclimate to life outside the monastery. He can’t sleep and goes to shop at the supermarket for a dinner date he has scheduled the next evening with a woman he met on a dating website. POV: The young woman.
Story Two: Military Mermaid Mom – Story about a returning female veteran and how she goes through her daily life as a mom to an 8-year old girl, as a disabled veteran suffering from PTSD, making ends meet on disability checks, fearful that her daughter’s father will want custody of their daughter and haul her to court accusing her of emotional instability. Amidst all the daily struggles, our mermaid mom still dreams of a better future for her daughter. She tells her a good morning story every day that promises a new life in Hawaii for them , a beautiful sea side home, plenty of food, no worries and her and her daughter swinging in a hammock, singing Iz’ “Sandy White Beaches”. But there are challenges and my stories don’t have happy endings, just true endings. Neither here or there.
Story Three: The Close Up – Story about an aging woman, who in her youth was very beautiful, ala Elizabeth Taylor. A trip to one of the big box beauty stores at the Grove uncovers her true feelings on how she sees herself now as she ages and is very different than what she was once, long ago.
Story Four: All Washed Up – Story of a woman trying to conduct her free-lance business calls as she washes her family’s laundry at the laundromat, two towns away from where she and her family live, so the gossip school yard moms won’t see her at a gasp! – laundromat. She is above all trying to remain hopeful as she pitches her business to potential new clients. Big reality question is: How hopeful can one be if you’re in your late 40’s and still doing your laundry at the laundromat because you can’t afford a new washer for your home because you have to pay for your kids fancy private school and make the mortgage and buy food and make the car payment and buy insurance, etc. etc. etc.
Story Five: Anime Teen Queen – Story about a teen mother who reads anime comics to her toddler at a Los Angeles County Library, as she waits for the Gold Line Metro 4 p.m. to take her and her son home to Chinatown. She’d go home sooner, but she doesn’t have a key to her home. Her mother doesn’t want to give her a key to the house because she looks down on her for getting pregnant so young, and is afraid she says that if she isn’t home with her, the daughter would steal things from her house. The girl wouldn’t do these things, of course, but her mom says these things about her daughter and the neighbors, family and friends believe the mom that this girl is always up to no good. So, she and her young son are pariahs in the close-knit, religiously sanctimonious community. The comics are not only a link to more carefree pre-baby days for the young girl but a hope hold out for better days. Can she discover her own agency reading comic books to her son?
Story Six:: “Cuz She’s Homeless” – Title of story inspired by the Crystal Waters song, “Gypsy Woman (because she’s homeless)” . This is a story of a down and out actress waiting for a taxi to the airport to take her to a gig in Las Vegas. She waits for the airport shuttle on the corner of Ave. C in Redondo Beach, wearing a floral maxi dress, white floppy straw hat, jean jacket, red beats headphones, pulling a zebra stripe print suitcase with hot pink accents. Her agent calls her on her cell phone and tells her the dinner theater she was going to perform at was closed down suddenly for suspicious activities. She goes back inside her condo complex and rides the mirrored wall elevator back to her unit, the song, “Gypsy Woman (because she’s homeless) comes on over the speaker and she stares at her reflection. What will happen to her? Is she homeless? or Is she something else? I haven’t decided.
Story Seven: All I’ve Got – Story about an urban professional woman who only has her job, her corner office, her clothes, her shoes, her wrinkle creams, her picture perfect selfies, her life on social media. What’s life like for her. Is she happy, satisfied? Is she better off than her surburban married sisters?
Story Eight: It’s Who We Are – Story of three members of the Croatian – Italian Ladies Club, Betty, Maria, and Fern who meet for coffee at Busy Bee in San Pedro and talk life.
Story Nine: WTF Woman – A story of a grown woman and her aging father and mother on her birthday told from the point of view of the woman.
Story Ten: “Dream A Little Dream” – The story of a woman who awoke from a sleep peppered with a lovely dream and realized she hadn’t dreamt in a long time. Since the day her daughter was born, to be exact. It was a lovely dream she had had last night. She didn’t want to open her eyes, throw back the covers and start her day making avocado toast for lunch sacks.
Story Eleven: Sad Girl – Her school of privilege and prestige was her dark valley to walk through. There would be the promised lands for her in her future.Her parents told her so. Many promised lands. But for now and today, there were only the valleys of unpopularity that she, a 15 year old girl, would have to walk through.
Story Twelve: The Island – Two high school teachers, hiding their personal lives from students and parents at a religious school because of fear of reprisals. Yes, still, in 2017 and that’s where the truth lies. We think we live in a modern world with modern thinking people but look around you at others experiences, really look and tell me that the dark ages, have indeed ended.