“What you feel first is the simplicity—of sentences, of tone, of description—but then before you know it, complexity has crept in on every level, and by the end of each of these stories you are left marveling at the layers of life history and humanity Curtis Smith has evoked.”
– Robin Black, author of Life Drawing and If I loved you, I would tell you this
Communion, Curtis Smith Release Date: March 2015
In this collection of twenty-one essays, Curtis Smith explores religion and fear, memory and dreams, and aging and happiness, with the skill bestowed only to masters of their craft. The eloquent pieces collected for Communion address a father’s love for his child and the fleeting moments he knows will be gone all too quickly. Seen through the eye’s of an older father, we are spared the sentimentality and clichés of childrearing, and instead gifted the rare and laconic wisdom of someone who understands, in the present, the gravity of each conversation or hike into the woods with his son. It’s the sincere modesty, coupled with Smith’s precise prose that gives this new collection its charm and heft. Through this world that Smith has wonderfully recaptured, we are invited to follow as his son leaves the insulated world of childhood and to wish him well as though he was our own. Communion is that collection of essays that reiterates what it means to be a father and how we might learn from it.
Curtis Smith’s stories and essays have appeared in over seventy literary journals. His work has been named to The Best American Short Stories Distinguished Stories List, The Best American Mystery Stories Distinguished Stories List, and the Notable Writing list of The Best American Spiritual Writing. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and son.
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Curtis Smith I walk my mother to the church. My hand rests lightly upon her elbow. She’s bony, too thin. The worrying component of our relationship has shifted. Fair enough. Beautiful this afternoon. Sunny, early May, the sky deep blue. A little girl runs past, a white dress, her hand anchoring a crown of snowy flowers. A row of cherry trees grows beneath the stained-glass windows. Around their trunks, pink moats. Petals tumble on the breeze. My mother ascends the stone stairs. My hand hovers near her back. Perhaps worry is love’s painful offshoot, its amount constant, its division dictated by health and years. I’ve spent the morning driving her here, and after dinner, I will drive her back. I can’t imagine the day without her. She grasps the handrail. Stairs trouble her. She’s had a rough couple months—knee surgeries, back problems, a widow’s new challenges. Her hearing is fading. Last week, she was the guilty party in a parking-lot fender-bender. Her life, I fear, is shutting down one avenue at a time.
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Communion release date of March 2015