where the writers are
The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare
The Fence My Father Built
$13.99
Paperback
See Book Details »

BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • Oct.01.2009
  • 9781426700736
  • Abingdon Press

Linda gives an overview of the book:

All her life Muri Pond dreamed of finding the father who left her when she was three years old.  Now it’s too late. Joe Pond has died, willing his remote Central Oregon high desert property to his citified daughter, a librarian who’d rather research than ranch. When legally-separated Muri Pond hauls fifteen year-old daughter Nova and eleven year-old son Truman out to her inherited property, she’s confronted by a troublesome neighbor and her father’s legacy: a fence made from old oven doors. The fence and house trailer doesn’t sit well with rebellious Nova, who runs away to the drug-infested streets of Seattle. Rubin, a local veterinarian, helps Muri search for her daughter and for something to believe in. Along with Aunt Lutie and the Red Rock Tabernacle Ladies, Muri must rediscover the faith her alcoholic dad somehow never abandoned. She forgives him, which frees...
Read full overview »

All her life Muri Pond dreamed of finding the father who left her when she was three years old.  Now it’s too late. Joe Pond has died, willing his remote Central Oregon high desert property to his citified daughter, a librarian who’d rather research than ranch.

When legally-separated Muri Pond hauls fifteen year-old daughter Nova and eleven year-old son Truman out to her inherited property, she’s confronted by a troublesome neighbor and her father’s legacy: a fence made from old oven doors. The fence and house trailer doesn’t sit well with rebellious Nova, who runs away to the drug-infested streets of Seattle. Rubin, a local veterinarian, helps Muri search for her daughter and for something to believe in. Along with Aunt Lutie and the Red Rock Tabernacle Ladies, Muri must rediscover the faith her alcoholic dad somehow never abandoned. She forgives him, which frees her to reclaim her own spiritual path.

Read an excerpt »

Joseph’s Journal June, 1977

Sprawled across the bed, you slept face-down, wearing that red cowboy shirt and the velvet skirt you love. I stood by and watched your breathing. Your hair, so straight and black, reminded me of my people, our people, and I wondered what you dreamed. Years ago, the Nez Perce surrendered to broken treaties, broken dreams. I’m sorry, daughter, but I’m surren­dering, too. You’re only three, Muri, but you learn fast. In this Oregon desert, the sun beats down hot, and today our tan faces shone with sweat. We walked across the sagebrush and you held the corn snake we found. You held it gently, without fear. I felt proud as I ever have.After sunset, we sat on the hill and looked up at the stars. When you got cold I draped my old coat around you and told you all about angels. On the way home, you didn’t ask for your mother, not once. It’s wrong, I know, but I was pleased.I had big plans to be your daddy. I was going to read to you every day, teach you the names of all the Civil War battles. I’d teach you how to fish. You’d learn how to listen to the wind and how to skip a stone. Most of all, I’d teach you how to pray.None of that will happen now.After your mom called, I broke down and cried and I couldn’t stop. I’ve lost. Your mother doesn’t know our ways but she has the white man’s courts on her side. They call it full custody. I cry because I won’t see you on your first day of school or when you get your driver’s license. My ears won’t hear you laughing. You’ll learn to climb trees and hold snakes without me. I won’t even be able to tell you why I wasn’t there.Maybe when you’re grown you’ll understand. Or maybe you won’t care about the secrets we could have shared, secrets of land and water, secrets of fixing refrigerators. I pray that God, who made all of this for us, will reach your heart in time. Tonight, I hugged you close, but you held your nose and said, “Daddy, I hate smoking!” I can’t seem to get that cigarette smell out of my clothes. All I smelled right then was the pain of your mother’s victory. Her car pulled into the driveway, and she leaned on the horn. I waved out the window. She could wait. I shrugged into my suede jacket.Before I handed you over, I picked up the framed picture I like: the one where you’re standing on that wicker chair, holding your raggedy blanket. I took the photo out of its frame, careful to hold it by the edges and slipped it into my wallet. When you got sleepy we hunted all over for that grimy blanket. Your old man has the magic touch with broken appliances too—just this week I fixed the neighbor lady’s old stove. The bottle, now that’s a different story, one I’ve tried to change a hundred times. If you only knew. Standing by the bed, I watched you sleeping. I stroked your flushed cheek and whispered your name. I carried you to your mother’s car, and you opened your eyes and smiled. I saved my tears for later, when I opened my wallet. I looked at your photo and weakness ambushed me.There are days when I feel strong. Those times, nothing can stand between you and me. Most times, though, I’m bro­ken, nothing but an old sinner praying for another chance. Someday, Muri, come looking for your old dad, will you? Maybe God will light a fire in you and our ancestors will fan the flames. I’ll put up a beacon so you’ll know where to look.

linda-clare's picture

My debut novel will be available October 1, 2009.

About Linda

Linda  is an Arizona native and graduated from Arizona State University but has lived in Oregon for the past 25 years. She teaches college writing, and her debut novel releases October 2009 from Abingdon Press' new women's fiction line. She's also coauthored 3 other...

Read full bio »