Guest Author: D. Avery ~ Story Stitching

Fiction or non-fiction, we write into the truth. We feel the story and layer the details onto the page. We rework the scraps until they bloom — the quilter, the painter, the metal worker, the writer — we all work in scraps until we have captured the story that speaks our truth.  – Charli Mills

Mountain Cove. Art Quilt by Barbara Williamson

When I was a kid most homes had a sewing machine with a pile of old clothes nearby. Any buttons were removed and saved as a precaution against future losses, the cloth cut and used as patches on our torn jeans. The rags might also be turned into braided rugs or become pieces of a quilt. My quilt was a memory keeper, with prints and material still recognizable and recalled from their former incarnations. Surely the quilter was an artist.

Where I come from most people have in a barn or out of doors piles of scraps and spare parts. Wood that has length enough to be called lumber is stacked with blocks to keep it aired and level. Shorter pieces go to the kindling pile. Large rocks are sorted by size and shape, stockpiled until they might become part of a wall, a culvert, fire-pit, or a landscape feature. Scrap metal and machine parts line oil stained shelves. These various building blocks await the artisan that will eventually tap their potential in some project.

An industrious kitchen generated little waste. Watermelon rinds were pickled. The excess pie dough trimmed from the pan edge was rolled out and baked with butter and cinnamon, a snicker-doodle. All manner of leftovers enjoyed a second life as a hash, stew, or casserole by a resourceful and creative culinary artist.

Writing is my art. I am no expert on writing, thank goodness. How crippling expertise would be. No, I am just the kid I used to be, using my father’s tools to cobble wood scraps together to make a fort or a treasure chest. I’m the kid with a box of crayons unafraid to put color on the page; the kid who wasn’t daunted by a needle and thread when Teddy Bear needed clothes or his nose sewn back on; the artist who accepts that the product might not be seamless but that it is satisfying to play with an idea, to play with words and to create something whole from the bits and pieces lying about.

I’ve accumulated messy piles of memories, material for my art. I’ve squirreled away bits of stories partially remembered, stories of people remembered and perhaps partially made up. Places, people, and pasts are wrapped in scraps of memories flickering like dust motes in a shaft of windowed light. I am an artist that eyes these scraps, wondering what assembled shape and texture might be forged. That these scraps of memory and remembered details are my building material as I play with words doesn’t mean my stories aren’t fiction. They are. But maybe fiction is nothing but patchwork truths stitched together, scraps of real and unreal, wishes and wonderings, memories and maybes woven together into a renewed story that resonates as a possibility.

D. Avery’s latest book, After Ever; Little Stories for Grown Children, is a collection of flash and short fiction. Cursed with a compulsion for word play and a growing addiction to writing, D. Avery blogs at Shiftnshake, where she pours flash fiction and shots of poetry for online sampling.
D. Avery is a Rough Writer at
 Carrot Ranch. She is the author of two books of poems, Chicken Shift and For the Girls.

Find her on Twitter at
 ‪‪@daveryshiftn‪‪ and Amazon

AFTER EVER by D. Avery

Big stories come in small packages. Told with the sure-footed brevity of fairy tales, After Ever is a collection of stories that explore dark depths and uncertain endings, flash fiction that often leaves room for interpretation and speculation. These are stories in which the grim tragedies of life befall characters of all ages. There are no happily ever after fairy tale endings, but there are flashes of resilience and hope. The heroes of these short stories are ordinary people who recognize the mystery, beauty, and small wonders contained in their ordinary lives. Sample and savor each story individually or as a banquet of offerings both dark and light, tales of lives tragic and magical.

“An interesting and eclectic collection of short stories and even shorter flash stories, this collection has something for everyone. Whether the situation be mundane or mystical, tragic or cheerful, D. Avery records events matter-of-factly and leaves it to the reader to choose how to respond. After Ever is great for reading in bites or as an entire feast.” Norah Colvin  

“D. Avery has written a stunning collection of flash fictions that take us from here in Vermont to places far afield and from children to the elderly. These short stories in After Ever, though, all share one common thread, and that is tight, beautiful prose about the human condition, about the moments of our lives that make us weep from sorrow and from love.” Sean Prentiss, author of Finding Abbey

Other books by D. Avery
Click the titles or images to go to Amazon

Chicken Shift

Poems of life; Crossings & Roadkill; fun, philosophical inquiries into why the chicken crossed the road and the consequences therefrom.

Short witty, multi-layered poems.

Thought and laugh provoking.

For the Girls (E) by [Avery, D.]For the Girls

Poems in reaction to losing a friend to breast cancer, of having more friends go through it, and having a touch of it myself.


New book?

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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35 Responses to Guest Author: D. Avery ~ Story Stitching

  1. Mary Smith says:

    ‘maybe fiction is nothing but patchwork truths stitched together’ I love this definition of fiction. I shall probably steal it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. If you do I shall take that thievery as a compliment. (You’ll note I complimented Charli Mills pretty heavily to get started)
    I think this piece is me trying to work out the answer to the questions I’m starting to get- “where do the stories come from?”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Perfectly stitched…and beautifully told! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jennie says:

    I so enjoyed this!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I enjoyed this article. I think many of us do this. Utilize scraps of memories and ideas from throughout our lives in our books and stories.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. jenanita01 says:

    They call me a hoarder because I cannot bear to throw anything away, but you never know when something will be needed again. The things I save are not rubbish, they are ideas in waiting…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Wonderful post, D. Great to see you at Sue’s place. Congrats on the new collection! Looking forward to reading this one.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. What a beautiful post from D. I love the metaphor of the quilt, of the workshop and the kitchen where every scrap is valuable and has a life beyond its initial use, stored away or recycled or added to the pot. A beautiful description of writing and our quilts of words and experiences.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Charli Mills says:

    A kid at heart is the best way to approach craft because it reminds us to be curious, to play and discover. You are a kid of New England and I love how clear your vignettes of scrap piles are written. Of course, that’s why your new book is good as pickled watermelon rinds!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Pingback: Here is my interview with D. Avery | authorsinterviews

  11. Norah says:

    Lovely post, Sue and D. I like the thought of weaving together a patchwork of ideas to create stories that may contain elements of what is true and what might be true. There is but a thin line between what is imagined and what really happened.
    I have and have read all of D.’s book and am happy to recommend all three.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Maybe “true” stories are as subject to change as a writers’ identity. At the Ranch there was discussion around memoir and truth; people can get picky about too much fiction in the non-fiction but people also get fussy about too much truth or perceived memoir in the fiction. It’s all patchwork.
      Hey thanks for coming by here, I just noticed you and Anne. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Pingback: Hog Blop? | ShiftnShake

  13. Annecdotist says:

    What a beautiful post. I so agree that stories emerge from scraps, but you’ve got me wondering about what the analogy would be for the throwaway society. Maybe that’s the editing stage? Congratulations on your new book – look forward to reading.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. crazywitch25 says:

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s good to hear from the other generation–such wisdom. My grandma tells me stories about what she did growing up. She had no money, but she said she never went hungry. She farmed and went to school in a one room school house.

    Liked by 1 person

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