Originally published in Willow Springs 66
From the author
Notes on “The Bridge”
“The Bridge” was one of the first things I ever wrote, long before I had any formal
training, or even entered the MFA program at Vermont College. It began because I just
felt weirdly haunted by the image of a long, dangerously rickety bridge with potholes in
it. I started there, and just moved in a stream of association: breaking the rules in order
to cross the bridge, the non-stop Watergate trials on the TV, my dad watching them, my
dad’s polio, the fact that another kid’s dad, who also had polio, had committed suicide
that year. I just let myself wander, without any preconceived notion of a structure, to be
honest, because I didn’t know what else to do! Because of that, probably, the piece was
over-written in its original version, and Willow Springs editor Sam Ligon helped me
cut to the chase, figure out what was necessary in the piece, and cut what was excessive.
I needed an outside eye. I’m not my own best editor, most of the time, and I’m very
grateful for his help and guidance!
Notes on Reading
Books I’ve loved long-term: Robin Hemley’s Nola: A Memoir of Faith, Art and
Madness, Junot Diaz’ collection Drown, Sam Shepard’s Motel Chronicles, Sandra
Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek. Also, all of Sam Shepard’s plays, even the ones that
failed. Especially the ones that failed.
Creative nonfiction books I’ve recently loved: Notes from No-Man’s Land</em> by Eula Biss, Sam Shepard’s Day Out Of Days, Sam
Shepard’s Cruising Paradise, Philip Graham’s The Moon, Come to Earth, about Portugal.
Most recent book discovery: I just bumbled into a book of essays that blew me away,
Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery, by Jeanette Winterson, a writer I’d never
heard of up until two weeks ago. She’s an expert on the Modernists: Woolf, Stein,
Pound, Yeats… She had some wonderful things to say about the randomness of ironclad
notions of genre, in an essay called “Testimony Against Gertrude Stein,” and she wrote it
long before all the James Frey sh** hit the fan—really interesting, prickly, timely stuff.
About Kerry Muir
Kerry Muir holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. Her creative nonfiction currently appears in Kenyon Review Online, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. Her play for children, Befriending Bertha won first prize at the Nantucket Short Play Festival & Competition and was published in the anthology Three New Plays for Young Actors: From The Young Actor’s Studio (Limelight Editions/Amadeus Press, 2000). She lives in California.