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From the Archives:

"Six to Twelve"

"Six to Twelve" earned Honorable Mention in december's 2016 Curtis Johnson Prose Award in Fiction and  was subsequently published by the journal. I'd written the first draft in 1996, and it was a comical rant, the whirlwind thoughts of a narrator who has recently been given a terminal prognosis. My wife, who is my first and best reader, diplomatically pointed out that, while the story was "a pleasant read," it was also "missing a little 'oomph.'" Over the next 20 years, I kept coming back to it for full rewrites and minor tweaks, fleshing it out and digging deeper to try to find the oomph.


By the time I submitted "Six to Twelve" to december, it had changed considerably. Writing about the results of the Prose Award, judge Anthony Marra remarked that the narrator's "cantankerous, defiant refusal to acknowledge his own mortality rings particularly true and make's the story's humor, frustration, and anger all the more deeply felt. The result is a beautiful story that wears its pathos lightly."

“I’m convinced,” I told her, speaking quickly and with assurance, “that between you and Dr. Yasserman, you’ll come up with some kind of agreement, you know, maybe you can get him to say, oh, sixteen to twenty months or something, and we can sort of dicker our way back up to me having a full life again. You’re good at that kind of stuff. I take you to car dealers just so I can watch their smiles freeze when you start in on them. Ten thousand, nine thousand, eight, seven, sold! A wonder to behold.”

--from "Six to Twelve"

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