Kat Meads: Excerpt from “In This Season of Rage and Melancholy Such Irrevocable Acts as These”

Broad Street is proud to offer this taste of a remarkable new novel by multifaceted author Kat Meads. In This Season of Rage & Melancholy Such Irrevocable Acts as These is her seventeenth book and sixth novel, this time with Mongrel Press. We’ve loved her since she sent us a lyrical essay called “Leaving the House,” which opens our “Maps & Legends” issue and is one of our Pushcart nominees this year. A writer recognized in almost every possible genre, Meads has received an NEA fellowship in poetry, a California Artist fellowship in fiction, and two Silicon Valley Arts Council grants. Her books, stories, plays, and essays have won honors and medals too numerous to count. She teaches in Oklahoma City University’s Red Earth MFA Program.

And here is a section from the novel:

The majority of Mawatuck women waited for a husband to change residences, but she hadn’t waited for, or wanted, a husband. She’d moved out of Aunt Grace’s house into a house trailer because she wanted her baby to be born and raised in a home that belonged solely to her. Even on a bank teller’s salary, she could afford to rent a trailer in a middle of a cornfield.

It rented furnished. A substandard-sized couch, two-person dinette, Venetian blinds speckled with fly wings. A battered chest of drawers. A bed so low to the floor that when she sat on it her shoulders were closer to her knees than her knees to her ankles. Electric heat, electric stove. A refrigerator she’d planned on covering with her daughter’s artwork.

She’d always assumed she carried a daughter.

After reading an article on babies and germs, she’d set about disinfecting the trailer. Although her baby wouldn’t be exposed to air for months and months, she’d wanted to prepare in advance.

Balanced on a dinette chair, cleaning the upper shelves with ammonia, she felt the room tilt. Carefully, carefully, she climbed down and stretched out on the floor. In that position she came nose to nose with dust bunnies, bread crumbs black as raisins, hives of mold. But when she saw the upturned thumbtack, she immediately reached for it, its danger the most obvious of the surrounding treacheries. Thumbtack in one hand, other hand cupping her stomach, she tried to stay positive, think positive, but couldn’t help herself. With each wave of queasiness she more and more feared what lay ahead: labor and its (possible) complications. If vertigo derailed her, how would she manage the pain of childbirth? Mothers were supposed to endure all grades of suffering for their children.

Could she?

Be sure to visit our website to read Kat’s Truth Teller Spotlight, an interview about her writing process, and “Leaving the House,” her lyrical essay in Broad Street.

Image, “Will You Stay?”, by Masa Inoue.