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Bruce Holland Rogers

September 2008

The House of Women

This story is an illustration of principles that the author, Bruce Holland Rogers, expounds upon in his column “One Loopy Sentence At a Time.”

Women were all I knew of family. Family meant a household with my mother and three sisters so much older that they loved me without rivalry. Rivalry they reserved for each other. Other boys had fathers who took them hunting. Hunting was, for me, a mystery of guns and blood. Blood mysteries in our house were different.

Different boys came courting my sisters, giving me quarters to go away. Away is where they took my sisters, eventually. Eventually, it was just the two of us, me and my mother in a house I tried to fill with a loud guitar and an old Mustang that spent most of its time on the garage floor in parts. Parts were the vehicle of my initiation, for when my friends were with me we could speak the code of cams and carburetors and go to a country that we imagined was for men alone.

Alone and on my own at last, I found further paths into the world of men. Men working with me at the garage went for beers after work, bowled weekends, hunted in October, all to be away from their wives. Wives and children, they joked, were God’s punishment for youth. Youth, they urged me, was meant for raising hell.

Hell raising, according to my workmates, was a matter of drinking hard and of spending Saturday nights with girls whose names a man would forget by the time he told the story Monday. Monday mornings didn’t find me bragging of such exploits, though. Though I went for beers and bowled sometimes and even learned to hunt, I disappointed my adopted brothers. Brothers shouldn’t speak with their brothers’ wives with quite the ease that I did. Did they think that noticing a different hair style or knowing where to find the shoes to match that handbag was flirting? Flirting was what they called it to my face, though behind my back, they muttered other things. Things at work have improved only slightly since I met and married Bonnie.

Bonnie hoped our first would be a boy, so I haven’t shared with her my relief that we’re having a girl. Girl one, I hope, of two or three to come. Come to me, my daughters, and bring me home to the house of women.

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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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Copyright © Bruce Holland Rogers. First published in Blood Orange Review and used here by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

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