In Haste I Write You this Note
ISBN ISBN 0-931846-55-2
Washington Writers' Publishing House
In Haste I Write You this Note
"I'll slide it under my neighbor's door:
Dear Friend: Unless you too are allergic, a large wasp of unknown species is under a wine glass in my —
Should I say bedroom? Too — inviting. Yet..."
"A young woman allergic to wasps tries to
reach out to a neighbor, unsure if he is a jock, or a murderer; a
feisty lobsterwoman ostracized by a North Atlantic fishing village
tells a handsome stranger of other strangers who have washed up on her
shore, and left her with a “brood of brats;” just before his
sixtieth birthday celebration, a man learns his only friend just died,
and faces more than his own mortality; in a small Southeast Asian
port, a woman living in the Australian Outback tries to find some
rapport with her hip new daughter-in-law from Chicago, and both
confronts unexpected terrors; a daughter tries to come to terms with
her brilliant father's amorous adventures, and his physical decline. Whether the story is set in Latin America, the Far East, Canada
or the United States, an undercurrent of hope and longing ties these
apparently diverse characters together in a compelling and poignant
Ritchie's resonant writing evokes humanity's most endearing traits.
Whether showcasing American diplomats, struggling fishermen or worried
parents, her work will remind readers of the many serendipitous
and missed opportunities that continually swirl in the world around them.
Three of the four sections in this twenty-one story collection are
composed of interwoven tales, each of which can stand alone. In
Haste is Ritchie's twelfth book.
The first section, "The Lady in Eight," is a four-part
narrative about romantic
encounters. Its opening piece, "In Haste I Write
You This Note," presents a woman's internal rumblings as she weighs
the pros and cons of inviting a
neighbor to her home. Her obsessive search for the right words--how does
one invite a male acquaintance to one's apartment?--is poignant,
Three other vignettes round out this section. The man's perspective and
observations about the meeting and ensuing flirtation are offered;
readers will feel desires both painful and primal as they grapple with the
longing the female presents.
The second series of stories, "Communications from
Paradise," assess the
ways individuals utilize psychological denial. Some literally deny all
unpleasantness, whether a poisonous snake or an unfaithful mate. Others,
like the protagonist in "The Big Sixtieth," confront misery
struggling to make sense of a best friend's unexpected death.
Section Three, "Marching On," addresses relationships and
the ties that
both bind and strangle. "Marching to War," one of the most
moving stories in
the anthology, is written in the voice of a woman whose only daughter has
enlisted in the military. The mother, a single-parent, has been too busy raising her brood and working to actively protest violence. Now, she
that her lack of political engagement has unwittingly caused her child to
accept armed conflict as inevitable. The ten other pieces in this section
are equally compelling. Domestic violence, human/animal communications,
poverty and divorce, all are treated with freshness--an emotional
Similarly, "Re-Inventing the Archives," exudes honesty
and integrity. In this tale, an adult daughter attempts to decipher
which family legacies to keep and which to discard. It is riveting material.
Ritchie writes with a poet's finesse, a psychologist's insight
sage's humanism. It is a brilliant mix, rare, heartfelt and wise.
-- Eleanor J. Bader, FOREWORD, June
* * *
"This set of stories is
about regular people who are anything but average. They yearn and strive
to be better people, exploring the depths of life and existence, in both
their successes and failures. A number of the stories are woven together
like a beautiful tapestry of human experience, showing how lives
intersect, how profoundly we influence each other, how dependent upon one
another we really are." -- Kevin West, the judge in the Washington
Writers' Publishing House Premiere Fiction competition, 1999.