Elise's short fiction has appeared in several journals and anthologies. New work is forthcoming in the Spring 2013 issues of Ploughshares, guest-edited by Major Jackson, and The Gettysburg Review. Recent publications include "The Way I Saw the World Then," which appeared in The Missouri Review and was shortlisted for the Best American Short Stories 2010. Below are a few beginnings.
"Hard Things," from Colorado Review, Fall/Winter 2012
Lately George noticed that Vicky talked a lot about the strangeness of time. Things that happened years ago but were still vivid and detailed, things that happened only last month but felt far away. How moving her things into George's house--nicking her dresser on the doorjamb, deciding whose plates to use and whose to store--felt like yesterday. How at the same time, it felt like they'd lived here forever.
"The Way I Saw the World Then," from The Missouri Review, Winter 2009
The day Ms. Moreau would cry in front of her freshman honors English class was the stuff of Lawrence High School legend.
"Mr. Nice Guy," from American Literary Review, Spring 2009
Will has heard stories like this one before, the finding and returning of lost cell phones in New York.
"I Love You With All My Heart, Such As It Is," from The Carolina Quarterly, Winter 2007
As the car is spinning Addie can hear herself screaming, and later, looking back, it will be the thing that surprises her most: not the car skidding across a median or flying across four lanes of traffic or the fact that she escaped all of this unscathed, but the scream, the sound of it--shrill, high-pitched, desperate. She hadn't known her body was capable of such a sound.
"What I Feared," from The Subway Chronicles: Scenes from Life in New York, August 2006
In 1984 I was eleven and scared of everything. I was visiting my cousins in Park Slope and riding the subway for the first time. My real house was outside Philadelphia, where the sum total of my experience with public transportation was the school bus, one plane ride, and the car pool to CCD.
"The Stoop-Sitters," from Philly Fiction, March 2006
The women head on out like always, in that hour when the day goes from light to dark and their kids crowd into the street to play halfball and their teenagers take off in loud cars and tight clothes and their men, if they've still got them, settle into the couch in front of the Phillies game and the lightning bugs fire up all over and the smells of dinners still hang like glue in the sweat-thick Philly June air.
"Losing It," Good Housekeeping, December 2005
When Great-Aunt Edna turned eighty, she began refrigerating everything.
"Northeast Philly Girls," The Hudson Review, Spring 2002 & Writes of Passage: Coming-of-Age Stories and Memoirs from The Hudson Review, Spring 2008
Pushcart Prize nominee
"She got it right, every last inch of the whole experience: the Catholic icons, the gel-sticky bangs, the claustrophobia--details unchanging through the decades and transcending even their geography, even though they're totally and unmistakably Philly." - Philadelphia Weekly
Northeast Philly girls lived close. Their houses were close, clothes were tight, families crammed together on long city streets. On the corners, they stood in clumps, girls with big hair and tight jeans and fringed leather pocketbooks. They held lipstick-wet cigarettes between two fingers and exchanged bubble gum, lighters, compact mirrors, all with smooth, pink sleight of hand. These girls had names I wanted--Colleen, Eileen, Christine--the long 'e' insisting on femininity. Their boyfriends were cool and wiry, dropping kisses on their cheeks or loose arms around their necks. At night, so I heard, the boys took them to the St. Lucy's parking lot where they pressed up close in the warm backseats, and later, the girls emerged older, more knowing, having acquired fresh gossip and kissing bruises they would display like badges of honor on the corner the next day.
"Feeding Grief," Black Warrior Review, Fall/Winter 2000
In grief, it helps that the food is smaller. It is more tidy, less overwhelming. Smooth cantaloupe balls, pickled tomatoes, stuffed mushrooms, pinwheels of red onion and mozzarella cheese. Chunks of cobbled dill pickle wrapped in slices of ham. Tiny drumsticks, triangles of tuna on rye, mini-pizzas on cracker tops, spiraling neatly from the center of the plate. Whole meals reduced to palm-sized, made manageable.