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Veronica Chater's Writings

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Article
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Oct.22.2009
Brain, Child
Love, Tween Style My twin eleven-year-old boys are swimming in a hormonal soup. The soup isn’t the same mild, somewhat prudish recipe that my fourteen year old cooked up when he was going through the same phase. Sam’s and Elliot’s soup is an altogether more sweet, spicy, energizing, hallucinatory, and addictive concoction. It keeps them awake at night, brings...
Short Story
Memoir (and)
Jan.20.2009
Memoir (and) Magazine
FLEA SPIT    He runs. He always runs. From the fleas that make him crazy. From the sting of their bites. From the tickle of their crawling. He runs to cool the heat of his skin, to throw off the invisible enemy playing at the roots of his hair. He runs, throwing snarls over his shoulders at the nagging predators that destroy his peace, snapping crazily at flies...
Article
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Sep.19.2008
Mosquitoes be Damned   To camp, or not to camp? To uphold a family tradition, or to hurl its carcass into the oblivion of the past? To hammer a ritual solidly in place, or to knock it down like a house of cards?   I ask you. Is it such a terrible thing to allow a tradition to die? I mean, if going out into nature for three days with an unsociable husband, three...
Article
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Aug.22.2008
The Berkeley Monthly
BRAVE THE RAVE When it's time to recoup your lost youth. . .       Family life has a way of sneaking up on you. The other day I was amazed and quite frankly appalled to realize that I am 42 years old, a wife, the mother of three boys, that I drive a mini-van, and that our monthly overhead is more than I used to earn in six months during my 20’s. And worse than...
Article
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Jul.14.2008
The Guardian UK
TOTAL RECALL  Memory or Madness? I can't really remember when it was that I first heard about "recovered memory syndrome." It may have been in 1991 during the highly-publicized case of Eileen Franklin-Lipsker. In this case, her memory of the murder of her childhood friend when she was 8 years old surfaced 20 years after the crime. Her father, 51 year...
Article
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Jul.14.2008
Apocalypse at the Barbecue
Apocalypse at the Barbecue The cousins gather, the fat hisses, the conversation veers off in 13 directions. Bring the canned food and bottled water. Bring on Y2K. When the sun gets so hot it feels like your hat might catch fire, you know that Uncle Marv is heaping coals on the barbecue and marinating the wild pig my brother Nick shot with a crossbow last...
Short Story
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Jul.09.2008
WALK-OUT
Vinny is going into retirement. The problem is he's only thirty-six. Act Three. Walkout. Veronica Chater tells the story of her developmentally disabled brother Vincent, who one day quit his job and then quit everything else, mystifying everyone in his life. (13 minutes) http://media.wwnorton.com/trade/audio/chater-walkout.mp3  
Short Story
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Jul.09.2008
THE OVERPROTECTIVE KIND
In 47 years of marriage, Mom has never taken a vacation without Dad. . . Act Two. The Over-Protective Kind. Veronica Chater's mother wants to go to a resort in Mexico with a friend. Her father, a former cop with an extravagant sense of security, prepares as if she's headed for a war zone. Among his questions for the Mexican authorities: exactly how long a knife...
Short Story
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Jul.09.2008
Polly Wants So Much More Than a Cracker
Owning a Macaw is a commitment for life--yours and your kids'. Act One. Polly Wants More Than a Cracker. Veronica Chater explains the conflict in her house between her love for her pet macaw — a kind of parrot — and her love for her husband and three kids. The macaw wreaks a sort of low-level chaos in the house, because it wants Veronica all to itself. (10...