A Single Father and a Sick Baby Girl

Vic Sizemore:

a short story

Originally posted on Vic Sizemore:

The Tower Journal has graciously republished my story “Hush Little Baby.”


The story first appeared in the summer, 2010 issue of Southern Humanities Review (http://www.cla.auburn.edu/shr), and subsequently won the New Millennium Writings Award for Fiction

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Freedom’s Just Another Word

Originally posted on Vic Sizemore:

Nadine’s in a world of trouble now. You might think what she did was stupid, and it was, but you can’t say what you’d do in her place. She can’t say herself what came over her; she panicked is all, had to get free of him. The one who came up on the porch wearing his Smokey Bear hat, and read her rights, he’s already gone back out to prowl around looking for other people to arrest, she saw him leave. Now there’s only a big man about to bust out of his green uniform; he’s behind the counter, trying to finish his overnight shift, ignoring Nadine, acting like she isn’t even over here cuffed to this hard metal chair that is itself bolted to the shiny tile floor, waiting for what comes next. It’s bright in here, too bright, and the tiles reflect the light back up. Like being…

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Come Before Winter, Part 2

Originally posted on Vic Sizemore:

When Joseph Campbell lectured on Dante’s life chart in the Convivio, it was in the context of his own charting of an archetypal life pattern. He developed it from his study of world mythologies. He calls it the hero’s journey.

The hero’s journey begins with a call to adventure, a call to step off the well-traveled path and forge your own singular way. The hero often refuses the call initially due to fear of the unknown, but eventually the hero answers. Else there is no journey, and subsequently no story to tell.

When the hero answers the call and sets out, supernatural assistance is sent, a traveling companion, a paraclete. The journey takes the hero through darkness, a kind of death. This is true all the way back to the first story we have, of Gilgamesh making his way on foreign terrain in total black darkness day after day…

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An Atheist and a Saint

Originally posted on Vic Sizemore:

“You don’t believe in God?” I ask my girlfriend Liz.

It’s a legitimate question in Lynchburg, Virginia, a city whose population of Baptists is on par with Salt Lake City’s Mormons. Finding an atheist who is out around here is like spotting a yeti.

We approach the one traffic light on the way back to Liz’s apartment from the college where she teaches economics. It is dark out, almost ten at night. She’s hunched forward in the dull orange glow of the streetlight, hugging her coat closed. Without saying a definite yes to my question, she makes it clear. She turns her head down in the cold car as if laying it on a pillow, the bottom half of her face disappearing into shadow.

“Is that a problem?” she says.

“No,” I say. “Should it be?”

I begin to wonder why it is not. Though I left the Baptist faith…

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Black Boy 2014

Vic Sizemore:

Right now I’m thinking about what John Stewart said last summer about Ferguson: “You’re tired of hearing about it?… Imagine how fucking exhausting it is living it.”

Originally posted on Vic Sizemore:

Black Boy, 2013 (and now 2014)


One of my boys is reading Richard Wright’s Black Boy for his English class this coming semester.

One of my sons has already read the book, and in a couple of years my daughter will read it. They will see that it was published in 1945, closing in on seventy years ago. They will see how hard it was to be a black boy in the United States back in 1945.

I was never assigned Black Boy in school. As a matter of fact I cannot remember being assigned a single black writer until I took an African American Literature elective in college. I was raised in a place that was not only lily-white, but white with a red neck. Black people did not willingly venture up the Elk River.

In an autobiographical sketch, Wright speaks of the “dread of being caught…

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