I am southeast of Tucumcari, New Mexico. There’s a sign for a cemetery, the town whose dead it contains is not anywhere in sight. I turn west onto a rutted dirt road, drive perhaps four miles, stop, park and climb out of the car. (I am in the blissful universe of a Road Trip, during which every action is fascinating, every shift in perspective worthy of note.)
I go through a rusted gate and past rows of tidy modern gravestones. The names are all Anglo. In New Mexico. I come around the far wet side of the little cemetery and find two concrete slabs set into the ground. A woman’s name has been scratched into the surface of the southern one. She was born in 1845 and died 5 March 1911. Her first name was Martha.
There are eleven names scratched into a larger slab to the left of Martha’s grave.
Choose a name or names. Begin here: I know this name… or I don’t know this name. Write for as long as it takes you to tell the solid beginning of a story, a poem, a play, a screenplay. Send us what emerges and I’ll publish your words.
Here from Lynette Sheppard – this may make you challenge your shrink, if you have one…