Ann Ice

I used to not have a bio because this is internet. Besides, it seemed cool not to have one, like saying "I'm famous, see how nothing is there?" But no. Bios are important. However, bios have to go with the story. So, now I have bios for all my fiction. Depending upon what is published, you may choose your bio.

Melodramatic angsty stuff about relationships (young, of course).

    Bio for this: I live in the northeast where I hang out in cafes and use the mens' room if I really have to go, because why not?

Humor about misfits.

    Bio for this: I live somewhere in the northeast, except when I need a break, then I go somewhere else. It doesn't matter where I live, because no one cares. I am invisible and spend time at cafes, like all of us, but I don't stay long. People always sit on me for some reason.

Mommy stories. Usually angsty.

    Bio for this: I am a mother and spend most of my day moving my arms back and forth and back and forth. I twirl things around my fingers sometimes, even when I am moving my arms back and forth and back and forth. My joints make no noise, but my fingers sometimes turn this wonderful color, a shade lighter than my eyes. Sometimes I go to cafes where I move my arms back and forth.

Things about the south, usually coming of age, or stuff about southern women who move to the northeast and don't fit in because they are simply too strange. . . .

This is the true bio: the real truth: I was born and raised on an island. Isle of Hope, short for Island of Hope. It was only an island because an amber creek, more mud than water, trickled in from a river, slithered around marsh grass and wooded land. A bridge crossed over this water, five feet deep on good days, and announced to the world that we were a separate place. And indeed we were.

History books told us the island received its name from the original settler, Noble Jones, who had lived near a place called Stanford le Hope in England. But we all ignored this piece of information, preferring to imagine that the salty air, thick oaks, silky moss inspired a spiritual, healing kind of emotion in the first settlers. I don't know, though. I am not sure those original islanders were hopeful, spiritual people. Georgia was settled by folks King George referred to as "people of decayed circumstances." That was a euphemism for criminals. Basically, King George sent prisoners to Georgia. These "decayed" types scurried out to the islands once malaria hit Savannah. They say decay has a way of surviving and turning into something fertile.

We lived on a creek, along with a handful of other families scattered about the pines, oaks, kudzu and cottonmouths. I lived with my feet sunk deep in oily mud, or buried in underbrush, or dangling from gently bending oak limbs. Most of the day I was swallowed up inside murky water, a must escape when the summer air felt like the inside of a screaming tea kettle. Since I was the type of child who never listened, I ended up locked inside my upstairs room often. But I never stayed there. A skinny pine shot right by my window sill, and if I jumped I could grab a branch and make it to the ground. Eventually my mother gave up. Occasionally someone, a grownup or visiter, would wonder outside and call my name to make sure a cottonmouth hadn't gotten me. Cotton mouths were a significant presence on the island. They were vile creatures. And don't let anyone tell you snakes are more scared of you than you of them. That is a lie. A cottonmouth will chase you down in the creek with its jaws wide open.

Which is why most everyone had a gun. I watched my neighbor blow one up with his shot gun during a thunderstorm. I had seen it slither next to the side of my house. I sometimes liked to play outside when the cool drops came down in a flurry and lightening blinked beyond the oak canopy. Cottonmouths liked the rain too. I remember standing three feet away when the gun went off, pellets ricocheting off the cement foundation of our house. We clapped when we saw the splattered snake head go limp. I was clapping a little out of relief that none of the pellets hit my face.

I sacrificed my soul one muggy May day on a lawn overlooking the Skidaway river. The tide was low, and a breeze forced the marsh grass to bow. I looked over the crowd behind me, familiar faces, all wrinkled and leathery from a life lived under an unforgiving sun. I had planned to take it all in before I threw it out of my life. I had planned to say something like, "well look what this decay has become." I was going to wave at the porpoises slipping through the river, smile over at the fiddlers raising their claws to me in worship, throw one last rock at a vile snake.

But no porpoise passed that day. They didn't swim down the river, now crowded with roof-covered docks. There were no cottonmouths; construction projects had pushed them off the land. Only a few trees sprinkled backyards of houses, now referred to as "cottages" by some of the transplants who had moved down from places like Chicago and New York. No one mud walked anymore, and the underbrush had been untangled, chopped down and hauled off.

I raised my hand in the direction of the angry sun that used to own my childhood days. I saw it struggling up there, trying to burn its mark back into the island, boil the air, bring back slithering creatures, help fertilize a few of the oaks' scattered acorns.

My other hand held onto a Yankee as I told an old minister "I do."

That was a while ago. My first stop was New York. I loved New York. Occasionally cottonmouths slithered by on two legs, and I laughed and bowed my head. I respect vile creatures. I loved the eccentrics, the eclectic mixture of people, the creative energy, the cussing, the tough as nails women. I felt like I was on familiar ground.

Then I moved to Connecticut. Everyone is nice and similar.

I write about misfits now.

I like all kinds of writing, but love humor, particularly if it is wise and a little sad. Smartass stuff is ok, for a while. And the worst part is having to do that smartass bio thing. And you gotta do it!

I'm working on polishing a novel. Aren't we all?

I'm outlining a second novel while I work on this one,a comedy. The second will be southern, angsty with hidden humor. I think. Who knows. It may simply be a way to stave off insanity.

In the mean time I am a total nothing.

Ignore me.

Ann Ice's work has been in online and print publications: In Posse, Lit Pot, Barbaric Yawp, Lunatic Chameleon, and others. Most recent publications: Sweet Fancy Moses, Opium. Work is forthcoming in Insolent Rudder and in Pindeldyboz.


In Posse: Potentially, might be ...