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In Haste I Write You this Note

In Haste I Write You this Note

Price: $14.95
ISBN ISBN 0-931846-55-2
170 pages
Washington Writers' Publishing House

In Haste I Write You this Note

"This set of stories is about regular people who are anything but average."

Kevin West, Judge
WWPH Premiere Fiction Competition, 1999


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 unity."

        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 connections 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, wrenching. Three other vignettes round out this section. The man's perspective and observations about the meeting and ensuing flirtation are offered; likewise, 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 head-on, bravely 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 worries 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 clarity--that startles.

        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 and a sage's humanism. It is a brilliant mix, rare, heartfelt and wise. -- Eleanor J. Bader, FOREWORD, June 200.

* * *

        "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.



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Elisavietta Ritchie
11450 Asbury Circle #320, Solomons, MD 20688