Karen Green: Out Of My Element


The Novel Story of My Life

Chapter One: Little House on the Prairie. Chapter Two: Children of the Corn

I am a writer and a bit dramatic, so my entire life has been accompanied by a running narrative in my head. I am constantly writing the story of my life—both figuratively and literally. But I have not always been writing the same book.

In my teen years, my life was part Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, and part Go Ask Alice with a dash of the Emma Goldman Essays thrown in for good measure.

That gave way to my twenties and some marginally better choices, so the narrative was more along the lines of On The Road meets Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Bitch meets Generation X meets Bridget Jones’s Diary.

My thirties began with bucolic missives about new motherhood and childhood and my roots and the loss of my father, akin to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Swing Low, and Guess How Much I Love You.

And then we did some soul searching and made some big bold choices and left everything we knew and loved behind to give it a go in the cornfield. The narrative was sounding a lot like Little House on the Prairie, and Who Has Seen the Wind, and Revolutionary Road (we can make it out here because we’re better than you. Ha!).

But now I know the truth. This place, and my late thirties, will not be about me pretending to be a pioneer or striving to give my children a dynamic life out here in the sticks.

Because I realize now, that I am living in a Stephen King novel. Novels. Horror novels. Many of them.

Like Children of the Corn—do I even have to explain this one? I refer to this place as The Cornfield for a reason. Why didn’t I figure out how spooky it would be surrounded by 10 foot high cornfields?

Like The Blondes. Even though she’s been here for five years, I am still shocked by the fact that I have a blonde daughter. In Toronto I knew she was mine from a mile away. But here in Aryan country? I swear I could not pick her out on the soccer pitch last year. She was just one of dozens of little tow-headed, pony-tailed mutant children looking for their next victim—I mean, running after the ball.

Like The Mist. More Stephen King, thanks to the fog that permeates so many mornings here that the school busses are regularly cancelled because of it. This is not pretty mist on the lake kind of fog. The fog we get here is the kind of fog that sends cars into ditches, causes veritable blindness, and leaves you with a creepy sense of foreboding as you wait to find out what scary thing is going to be left behind when the fog finally dissipates.

Like The Birds. Ok, not technically a book, so the screenplay then. Because the crows are often as thick as the fog. It’s weird. It’s creepy. And then I learned that crows can actually REMEMBER YOUR FACE. So now I throw scraps of bread into the backyard for them on a regular basis because, please don’t attack me or my children, creepy huge birds.

So what will the coming months hold out here in Scarytown? Well, as I’m working pretty much full time on my novel, I’m hoping my life will be more like On Writing and less like The Shining. But I’m off now to go for a run, because you know what they say about all work and no play…

So what’s the story of your life?