Frequent Drum contributor Steven Brykman strikes a serious tone in his essay "The Box" about a childhood visit to his older brother's residence in a home for people with autism. Brykman tells a dramatic story of his long-ago encounter with a frightening element of his brother's life, and muses on the nature of shared experience, isolation, and love.
In Sandra Jensen's "War", a young South African girl wrestles with her emerging sexuality and with the political, familial, and cultural conflicts taking place around her. Learning about the Boer War in school, Kimberly thinks instead of the more immediate aggression in her mother's relationship with her boyfriend. Attraction and repulsion, love and violence, mingle in this rich story.
The Summer of Nathan Nickydownload
Lisa Korzeniowski's "The Summer of Nathan Nicky" watches two young sisters watching a boy--a shirtless boy mowing a lawn next door. As the narrator ogles the boy, she engages in a curious seduction, displaying herself as desirable. This brief story paints a vivid picture of adolescent sexuality and the sensuality of the gaze.
A Clip on the Eardownload
James Claffey's "A Clip on the Ear" blends a Catholic litany with the rituals of a boy's Sundays at home in Ireland. It's a home presided over by a violent father who, when not away on the North Sea oil rigs, maintains strict control--over his wife, his children, the household rituals, and the litany itself. The boy seeks refuge in the hiding places of his home and in his fantasies of revenge.
In E.R. Catalano's "Trying Lesson," a young girl's search for Titian in the hair-color aisle is the starting point for more than a superficial transformation. Looking for a sense of home and belonging, the narrator of this excerpt from Catalano's novel-in-progress Becoming the Girl Detective seeks identity through her admiration of Nancy Drew. Perhaps if she can model herself after the girl detective, the narrator can solve the mysteries surrounding her own family.
excerpts from Your Voice in My Headdownload
Emma Forrest's memoir Your Voice in My Head chronicles her descent into darkness and her relationship with the therapist who helped her find her way back out. In the Prologue and the excerpt of Chapter Four that she reads here for The Drum, Forrest writes movingly of being a teenaged girl with a dangerous fixation on Millais' painting of Ophelia. She writes with restraint of powerful emotions, and describes her younger self's disturbing desire for annihilation with intensity and insight.