Not A Place On Any Map

Photo by Den DeFlorio Photography
Photo by Den DeFlorio Photography

I met Alexis Paige in 2011 at the Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop I organized that year. We had an immediate connection, and she’s a brilliant writer.  We connected again at the 2013 Creative Nonfiction Conference in Oxford, where I also fell in love with another Vermont writer Nina Gaby.

I’m excited to have them both contribute essays for the anthology I edited, A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be (Mercer University Press March 2017).

And now I’m reading Alexis’s first book, Not a Place On Any Map, which was the Grand Finalist of the 2016 Vine Leaves Vignette Collection Award. One of the lyric essays included in the collection, “Entropy As Islands As Stars,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I’m so proud of Alexis!

51G8g8Tuy8L._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_Her book is full of short vignettes—some might call them lyric prose—which are each examples of brilliant writing. Altogether they reveal her journey from a difficult childhood through rape, incarceration for drunk driving, recovery, sobriety, and more. Not a light read, but one that will surely touch many hearts. I love all of them, but something about her “Composite Sketch” touched me the most. If you know Alexis, you can see her in this sketch. If you don’t know her, you will feel like you do after you read it:

I am a creosotic whiff of Phoenix… I am peelings of rattlesnakes and sunburns…. I am a purple polyester accordion cheerleading skirt for the Catholic Youth Organization…. I am the cream-swipe of tawny lipstick and wood-smoked flannel and Doc Martens.

And then she comes up with what she calls “orphaned chapter titles” for herself, including:

“Revelations of a Wet Brain in Stilettos” and “Does My Hair Smell Like Fried Calamari?”

Treat yourself to this short but powerful book.

You’re welcome.

2 thoughts on “Not A Place On Any Map”

  1. Oh Susan, I agree wholeheartedly. This book is a gem. I have been fortunate to have been along for part of the ride and have watched it develop from sentences in writers’ group to this gorgeous collection. Both Alexis and Penny Guisinger (both of them were contributors along with you to my anthology, DUMPED: stories of women unfriending women) have published with Vine Leaves Press and they do an outstanding job. Dare I say it, I’ve submitted my vignette collection OVERHEARD: story/gesture to Vine Leaves 2017 contest…..maybe three’s a charm? I hope your readers take your suggestion to get a copy of Alexis’ book.

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