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“Hi, this is Carol Major reading from a novel in progress called The Stone Hookers.
That summer of seventy-one they thought Gary Lawrence had come home with a liar, a con artist. Nobody changes her clothes that many times. And the stories I told. Made them think I was Californian. Turned out I’d never been there, wasn’t even American. I was only on a day trip to Niagara Falls when Gary spotted me again, this time in Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I was staring at the woman on the hook. That’s how they got you to confess in medieval times—speared a hook clear through your stomach and because they missed your vital organs you could stay hanging on it for days. My mother told me. She was fascinated with the Chamber of Horrors too.
Anyway whatever I was doing there, it should have been clear I wasn’t going to fit in here, not on the Hay Plains in New South Wales with my white, white face, my paper-thin ears. “Burn to a crisp,” Rita said—that’s if I ever washed the muck off my face. But I didn’t really understand where Gary was taking me. My mother, and oh how I loved her, was a Wizard of Oz kind of girl. Click your heels and you’d be in Emerald City—which was always close to California—and if the ruby slippers and wand were missing you could always count on some prince with a white horse. Usually he’d turn up selling Fuller brushes, encyclopedias, property somewhere, and so she’d jump into his car, bundle me into a sleeping bag in the back seat. We got all the way from Winnipeg to Toronto on those kinds of opportunities and would have probably kept going to Montreal, Halifax and beyond, if she hadn’t met the American. Now, he really was from California or so he said and for one magical weekend took us to Niagara Falls, sailing across the Rainbow Bridge in his Pontiac and so there we were, standing in a whole different country.”
ABOUT CAROL MAJOR:
Carol Major writes fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of a wide variety of articles in the areas of health, environment and social policy. She was among the founding editors of Connexions, a provocative journal exploring social policy in relation to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and was awarded the Rosemary Derham Scholarship by the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne) for her campaigns on child safety.
Carol studied at the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph where she majored in psychology and English literature. Later she gained a master and doctorate degree in creative writing from the University of Technology, Sydney. She now runs a boutique-writing agency called Advanced Narrative that focuses on innovative uses of story structure, particularly as they apply to architecture. Carol offers creative writing consultations through Varuna’s Writing Development Program.
“The Stone Hookers is told from the perspective of Sophia Lawrence—a girl who muddles facts but is always trying to get to the truth. She witnesses an accident out on the Hay Plains; at least the locals say it was an accident. Sophia isn’t convinced.
I have been chewing over this story for over a decade and it has found its form in several manuscripts—all of which have hit the bin. I didn’t realise it was Sophia’s story and so now, finally believing that version, I’ve handed the reins over to her.
My attachment to this tale has to do with notions of place. I spent my early childhood in Scotland, immigrated to Canada and then landed here in Australia where I have lived for over thirty years. I have been a resident of Varuna many times, both as a paying guest and through the Fellowship Program. This lovely house provided the perfect place for me to come to terms with geography and notions of home—as the plateau and its mists take in all three landscapes where I have lived.” Carol Major
Carol’s short fiction has been published in Canada by Other Voices, Potlatch Publications and McGraw-Hill Ryerson. In Australia she has appeared in Northern Perspective, a literary journal published by the Northern Territory University, and in Meanjin. Her doctoral thesis, “Closed Adoption Policy of the 1960s” is available through Lambert Academic Publishing.
Carol is also an enthusiastic supporter of innovative narrative projects. Several of her short stories appear in the performance art project, 1001 Nights Cast.
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