The First Two Pages: “Long Time Coming” by Gale Massey

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

There’s a particular pleasure and excitement that come from reading a new book by a favorite author—whether a brand-new release or a new-to-you title, either might have the same effect. But there’s a special and possibly even sharper thrill that comes from finding an author whose work you haven’t read before and then knowing you’ll follow her wherever she goes next. And so it was with the writer I’m welcoming here today: Gale Massey, whose collection Rising and Other Stories releases next week from Bronzeville Books. I was fortunate to be invited to read an advance copy of the collection, and I was impressed by the book’s range and lyricism and ambition. I even offered a short blurb for the book, and I’m glad to include that here:

Through girlhood, adulthood, and motherhood, and against complex family dynamics, the characters in Gale Massey’s exquisite collection strive to find their places in the world—and find  themselves in the process. Sharply characterized, lyrically written, rich with surprises, rich with life—these are stories to savor.

In addition to that recommendation, I’m also glad to welcome Gale to the blog today with an essay on one of her stories, “Long Time Coming,” which offers a sample of her work and a preview of her artistic choices and sensibilities.

In addition to the new collection, Gale is also the author of the novel The Girl From Blind River, which received a 2018 Florida Book Award. Her work has been appeared in CutBank, SawPalm, Tampa Bay Noir, CrimeReads, Sabal, and the Tampa Bay Times. For more information about her and her writing, visit her website here.

And congratulations in advance to Gale on pub day for Rising and Other Stories—seven days and counting as this essay goes live!

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.

Massey-Long-Time-Coming-

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