Diane Williams

Diane Williams’s latest book of stories, How High? – That High, was published last month by Soho Press.

Story: ‘Mother of Nature’

Diane Williams, 4 November 2021

My brother’s words when I hear them these days seem not to go into my ears – but down some other deeper artery.

He said, ‘It’s mother’s house and I just think of it as home.’

‘I would never ever go there today,’ I said. And we were in the middle of a paved two-way drive in the park, having left it up to the pack of people we were in among to...

Two Stories

Diane Williams, 29 July 2021

Seated Woman

Oh, I had my worm’s eye view of him when I was down on the carpet to pick up my ink pen that had slipped off of my lap when I stood. I saw the canopy of his jaw, his jawbones.

God … will I never know if I make things better for Victor?

I would need to go along with him and there was no denying he was piqued, and I was putting up resistance. He wanted to show me...

Story: ‘Gladly!’

Diane Williams, 1 April 2021

He is a figure I once engaged with for years, amid scenes with nearly religious significance attached to them.

And by chance, this Saturday, I had witnessed him stepping away from a park path and stooping beneath the leaf cover – only to put his hand against the tree trunk.

He smiled when he saw me, but when I reached him he was speechless and sour, and then he proceeded on his way...

Story: ‘Harriet Mounce’

Diane Williams, 4 February 2021

I was able to get Harriet Mounce to shriek and I think I must have thought any shriek would do.

When she first stood there naked, I remember she was solemn or she looked annoyed or was she really pained? But she did seem to like me. The cues – she had really focused her eyes on me and she had smiled while on her haunches by the hearth a bit earlier.

Because she is a brunette, the sight of...

Story: ‘Tassel Rue’

Diane Williams, 17 December 2020

The bird’s voice was such a thick voice – it could never have been carried away by the high wind. It was a passionate voice that might have answered the question, ‘What am I living for?’ – had there only been words to accompany it.

And I did get to see the bird out on a limb, opening and closing its mouth, its breast pulsing.

Ruby had said, There is the bird that is...

Story: ‘Stick’

Diane Williams, 5 November 2020

How best to touch these woody objects or a person?     She batted together the parts of the sycamore stick she had broken in two and then made of them the self-important capital letter T – and she spun one.     She rolled the stick over her thumb and then she tried for greater twirling speed, as she sat on the park bench that bore a personalised inscribed...

I had had enough of everything during what I took to be my turn.

‘Can I just pet it,’ I said, when Tim and I were in bed, ‘instead of my taking it inside?’ But Tim said no.

And then, at the task, he pulled himself back and forth inside of me with many repetitions, enough to get to the next step for him – to stabilise the project. He was cramming rather a lot into...

He’d never quite seen anyone in that state before, even though he has a mother and all that.

Today Lizzie is, he thinks, irresistibly plaintive.

Then the doorbell jerked the husband to his feet.

Does Lizzie live here?

Who are you?

Where did she go? Where did Lizzie go?

Who wants to know?

Lizzie meant to answer hurriedly and hotly, but nevertheless stayed hidden.

Around here real and imaginary...

Eventually the mother died. My wife, was, in spite of everything, very fond of her mother, and had saved a dog abandoned at Vaughn’s – because, she said, the dog reminded her of her mother.

      Then why be so careless? Because Molly went up a walkway of stairs with the dog who wasn’t on a leash, and using by-paths – she went far into a...

Two Stories

Diane Williams, 13 September 2018

With this New Greasiness

One of them breaks the routine at the office usually – mouths off or is sullen, every once in a while.

The man said, ‘You know why I’m here, Jane.’

Jane grabbed at the man where some soft flesh is, with some force, perhaps because so many persons were no longer in her life – not Titus or Roddy, Mamie or Cecelia Bouché – whom...

‘Tell them all to leave. I won’t look!’ her husband had said.

He’d just returned from a visit to town when he said, ‘Tell your boyfriends to leave!’

‘Oh, darling,’ his wife said, ‘I’m in the garden,’ and she went back outside to stand a moment near the flowering vine – the trained pillar form by the doorway.

Not today...

Story: ‘Lamb Chops, Cod’

Diane Williams, 19 November 2015

She​ had stopped insisting that they have heart-to-heart conversations, but for stranded people, they had these nice moments together, and he had his professional enjoyment at the newspaper. He approved the issues there with a scientific mind and he made quite a contribution. He was a consultant in the field of efficiency.

She should have appreciated that, I guess. I don’t know...

Two Stories

Diane Williams, 23 May 2013

Perform Small Tasks

‘One second!’ I said – for everything can go cold in a day or hot. For a man like me, there’s an on and off bulb that does the deciding.

I had to find a red, little glowing button – that I was able to find – that was on a timer switch, to get more light on. The furniture – like worn-out stumps sticking up – had turned into...

Molasses Nog: Diane Williams

Ange Mlinko, 18 April 2019

Rushing​ out of the house for an appointment, I grabbed what I thought was Diane Williams’s Collected Stories. When I retrieved the book from my bag, I was surprised to find it was...

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