Grandad Lloyd looking down from Point of Rock  
about the author  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bryn Greenwood
 
BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan, one of seven sisters, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She earned a MA in Creative Writing from Kansas State University and continues to work in academia as an administrator. She is the author of the novels All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Last Will, and Lie Lay Lain. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.   Bryn Greenwood
 
more about me
I grew up on the mean streets of Hugoton, Kansas, where the only traffic light in town went to flashing red at dusk. Alright, the streets weren't mean. They were gravel and named after presidents. Not even all the presidents, because Hugoton at the time was only ten blocks by ten blocks.

When I was little, my family often accused me of being a storyteller, which is a polite way in Kansas of calling someone a liar. Later I found out it really doesn't matter whether something's true, as long as it's a good story. The first story I ever wrote in pre-school was a thinly veiled autobiography about a family of aliens. In the story's illustrations my older sister looks suspiciously like the Great Gazoo from The Flintstones.

My mother was a teetotaler and my father was into a variety of recreational chemicals, so their marriage was probably doomed from the start. Over the years, we picked up my stepdad, my stepmom, and four more sisters, bringing the grand total of daughters to seven.

At fifteen, I didn't so much drop out of high school to go to college as I ran away to escape the torments of prom and church youth groups.

Somewhere in there, I got a BA in French Literature, a BA in English, and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing. Faced with the terrifying prospect of a PhD or reality, I chose reality.

At any rate, I chose to take a teaching job in Japan. I lived in Niigata Prefecture, where we got 45 feet of snow my first winter. After that I came home and wasted what were probably the prime years of my life demonstrating the correct way to put on a condom to high school students and a variety of social services audiences.

Since then I've been working in academia, both teaching and pushing papers. I got married, had kittens, got divorced, bought a project house, and rescued a pair of boxers. (The dogs, not the undergarments.)

In the last twenty years, I've written somewhere around a million words, and my thinly veiled autobiography would still be about aliens.
 
Snuggling kittens  

crazy cat lady

I wasn't always a hairless cat owner. I married someone allegedly allergic to cats. Some doubt has since been cast on the degree to which he was "allergic," and while the husband is long gone, the hairless cats are here to stay. Until the mother ship comes back for them.

Hairless cats aren't hypoallergenic, but they're easy to bathe, so the dander can be washed away on a regular basis. And by "easy to bathe" I mean it can be accomplished with a modest amount of blood loss for the bather and minimum humiliation for the bathed.

They feel like velvet hot water bottles, but eat and poop considerably more than your average hot water bottle. (In case you were thinking of replacing one with the other.)

 

 
 
 
 

it was the wind

Some people left Kansas because of the wind.

It blew away the soil and the soil blotted out the sun. Death and misery became more readily available than bread and water.

My people stayed. I don't know if that makes them stupid, or fatalistic, or just stubborn. We didn't leave, even when it was the smart thing to do. We're certainly not going to leave now.

When I was younger, I wandered around the world, but came back to Kansas to write. It was the wind after all. It carried dust into the house all during my childhood and turned my hair into a rat's nest. When I got too far away from it, though, I felt unsteadied.

As though I'd been out walking in the wind and it suddenly stopped. As though I were going to fall down without something to oppose me.