ISSN: 1946-1712
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Bruce Holland Rogers

September 2009

An Untitled, Unrevised Discovery Draft

This is an examplar for Bruce Holland Rogers’s Short-short Sighted column for this month.

This afternoon, I’ve been digging a hole in the back yard for Miss Hought. That’s what she insists on being called, even though she’s a widow twice over. She has the idea that because of her roles in community theater, she’s some kind of star. Everybody around here does know her, certainly. She makes sure of that. But I don’t think it’s so much for her performances. Her performances on stage, I mean.

I’m digging a hole for a grapefruit tree this time. The tree, special-ordered from Neil’s Nursery, leans against the fence, root ball wrapped in burlap. It has come here to die. It is the latest in a series of condemned citrus. Miss Hought has had me plant lemon trees, orange trees, one lime tree, and a tangerine. Sometimes one or two trees has managed to come through the winter alive, but usually we have three or four hard frosts in the Willamette Valley, too much for trees like these.

The folks at the nursery always try to talk Miss Hought out of citrus. “If you want fruit, how about pear trees? Or cherries?” But Miss Hought says that if she keeps planting, what with climate change, one of these days her little back-yard grove is going to take. At least, that’s what she says in spring and summer. Come winter, you’d think it was Miss Hought dying with each frost. Ask her in February, and she’ll tell you that she always thought Junction City was no place for citrus.

Ours is a town that grew up on hope. The founders nicknamed Junction City “the Chicago of the West,” figuring that between river and rail, we’d become the hub of western grain shipment. Junction City, population five thousand and a few odd. Miss Hought and I are a couple of the odd. In summer, she thinks she is Chicago, but in winter she knows she is Junction City. It’s my job, a non-paying job, to get her through these personal booms and busts, the Chicagos and Junction Cities of her soul.

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About the Author

Bruce Holland Rogers

The eyes of Bruce Holland Rogers

Bruce Holland Rogers has a home base in Eugene, Oregon, the tie-dye capital of the world. He writes all types of fiction: SF, fantasy, literary, mysteries, experimental, and work that’s hard to label.

For six years, Bruce wrote a column about the spiritual and psychological challenges of full-time fiction writing for Speculations magazine. Many of those columns have been collected in a book, Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer (an alternate selection of the Writers Digest Book Club). He is a motivational speaker and trains workers and managers in creativity and practical problem solving.

He has taught creative writing at the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois. Bruce has also taught non-credit courses for the University of Colorado, Carroll College, the University of Wisconsin, and the private Flatiron Fiction Workshop. He is a member of the permanent faculty at the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program, a low-residency program that stands alone and is not affiliated with a college or university. It is the first and so far only program of its kind. Currently he is teaching creative writing and literature at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, on a Fulbright grant.

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