Excerpt from Lily’s Odyssey, a novel, published with permission by All Things That Matter Press; its first chapter a Short List Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award for Best New Writing


At the next session Dirk said, “To end your sense of abandonment you should find companionship. You have one foot in the traditional role for women and the other in women’s lib.” 

Yes, I’d been guided into the pink coral and branded with the “Triple O”: Obligation to God (church) and parents, Obedience to church and parents, Others take precedence over you, before being released to the marriage market; if I hadn’t returned to Nicolet City, I probably wouldn’t have strayed. I didn’t say anything so he continued; “I see about three months of work to get a new coat to protect yourself against obsessions.”

I stared at the hem of his pants and recalled Cal saying after first seeing Doctor, “It’s the first time I’ve seen a doctor wear leather pants. Is that some European thing like his mustache? He sure charges enough to make himself look like a doctor.”

“Do you think I should give Thomas Hirsch more information about what I’m doing?”

“Go right ahead.  Where’s the danger of letting it be known you’re doing so much because your bastard of an uncle won’t help?”

I was so surprised it was a moment before I said, “But it’d show him up,” frowning at the stained glass white dove with the black branch in its mouth.

When he folded his arms and said, “You’ve more than paid your dues,” I was surprised that being a Christian he’d say that. Yet, Doctor had said it too.


by Carol Smallwood


Carol Smallwood co-edited Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching (McFarland, 2012) on the list of Best Books for Writers by Poets & Writers Magazine; Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing (Key Publishing House, 2012); Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity, and Other Realms (Anaphora Literary Press, 2011) received a Pushcart nomination. Carol has founded, supports humane societies.

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