Maggie Kast: I Never Knew You Had A Girl

Maggie at Call to Action conference

Contributed by Kit Peterson

Maggie Kast is the author of The Crack between the Worlds: a dancer’s memoir of loss, faith and family, published by Wipf and Stock. She received an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has published fiction in The Sun, Nimrod, Paper Street, Rosebud, and others. Her essays have appeared in America, Writer’s Chronicle, and Image, among others. A memoir excerpt, published in ACM/Another Chicago Magazine, received a Literary Award from the Illinois Arts Council, and a Pushcart nomination. She’s currently working on a novel, I Never Knew You Had a Girl, excerpts of which have been published in anthologies on food and sleep from Red Claw Press. Her most recent excerpt, “I Hate that Chills,” will soon appear in The Huffington Post.

In Maggie Kast’s story, “Sleeping With Men, an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, 17-year-old Henriette is with Lucky, “a rakish older reporter,” at a left-wing meeting. It is Chicago, the year is 1930, and earlier in the novel Henriette has escaped her oppressive home life in Oak Park, Illinois to experience the “life of the body,” as she calls it. But as Lucky’s thigh moves closer to hers, Henriette, who has been embattled with the powers that be in an oppressive social structure, now must descend into the volatile trenches of her sexuality, and emerge from them into womanhood. When the two go back to Lucky’s apartment Henriette must make a choice, despite the memories of her father’s sexual abuse resurfacing. Her decision juxtaposed with her traumatic past makes us feel a different type of violent insurgency– Henriette’s interior mutiny of past ideals, where she will stop at nothing in order to bring about her own revolution.

“Sleeping With Men” is published in the anthology, Seek It: Writers and Artists do Sleep from Red Claw Press. Maggie’s most recent essay, entitled “Symbols: Forest of Ambiguity” can be found in the online publication Numero Cinq Magazine. Her nonfiction flash piece, “Ghost Alive,” has just been published in Defunct Magazine. Links to other publications and excerpts can be found on the blog Ritual and Rhubarb Pie.



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