In the dark of her bedroom, Evangelina McQuarry lay awake, her husband Russell snoring fitfully beside her like, she thought, some congested elephant. Evangelina opened her eyes. Evangelina closed her eyes. Evangelina concluded that whether her eyes were opened or closed made no difference whatsoever. — “Evangelina Prays for Downton Abbey”
You do not want to be inside Evangelina’s mind for long. Trust me on this.
Not that Evangelina is anything special. Evangelina is as everyday as women come. If she were a landscape, she’d be a patch of woods on the edge of a fallow Indiana field, her edges visible from all directions from miles away. Nothing special on the outside. A disturbance to nobody. One might think her a boring, self-contained Midwestern housewife.
But poke one foot into my thematic novel, Evangelina Everyday, and before you know it, you are in Evangelina’s undergrowth, her mind. Tamp down the black raspberry brambles there. Inside Evangelina’s mind a grocery store grid of saltines can paralyze, a longed for anniversary at Chicago’s Hotel Blake becomes a place from which to watch men in orange jumpsuits walk the exercise yard at the top of a skyscraper prison, dolphins swim at the edge of a town called Hicksville, and the tweets of a presidential candidate spark desperate dreams of poems carved into potatoes. Inside Evangelina’s mind, Downton Abbey characters, especially poor Edith, become people worth praying for in hopes that by praying, one’s own unhappy life might improve.
Rooted in the minutiae of Midwestern life, Evangelina Everyday is focused around the inner life of one who suffers the annoyances of a Midwestern lifestyle in a manner all her own, a manner filled with anxious contemplation of the worth of her life. As a Midwestern grotesque character, Evangelina McQuarry has difficulty remembering things people aren’t supposed to forget: her favorite color, her real name. Many things make Evangelina uncomfortable, but bodies are the worst, especially cockroach bodies copulating, clacking and sliding against each other on top of a bedroom dresser in the middle of the night.
In 2018, Orison Books named Evangelina Everyday as a semifinalist for the Orison Fiction Prize.
In 2019, “Evangelina Contemplates ‘Prime Space'” was published in Women Under Scrutiny: An Anthology of Truths, Essays, Poems, Stories, and Art
Evangelina Everyday will be published by Cornerstone Press in 2022.