The Simple Safe Solution Driving School offered classes at numerous satellite locations in order to serve a larger geographic area. Our classroom was at the end of a deserted corridor in the basement of the Mackleby-Warner department store. At first I thought the basement looked like the set of a slasher movie: The gray tub filled with naked mannequins and spare body parts was the place where the killer hid his victims. Empty plastic hangers stacked to the ceiling on tall, metal poles, and straight pins covering the floor were instruments of torture. If you stepped on the pins just right, they could go through the sole of your shoe. The main level of the store was like the part of the house visitors were allowed to see, everything clean and perfect, with no indication of what might be amiss (ominous music swelling in the background) just One. Floor. Below.
On the first night of class, I sat next to Kevin Thorpe by accident, and after that I always sat next to Kevin Thorpe because sitting anywhere else would seem like a slight. And whenever I arrived in class first, he sat down next to me, which made me perspire in the armpits. He was my ideal: blond curly hair, blue eyes, golden tan—California surfer-boy, far from home—and a pimply nose just to make him seem real.
Winner Washington Writing Prize in Short Fiction
Excerpted from The Hudson Review
Reviews of Writes of Passage:
"Its many artful...selections...will offer satisfactions and revelations to readers of all ages." – Michael Cart, Booklist
"I can speak from experience that these works can motivate and inspire students to see literature in personal, interesting, and fun ways. Elise Juska's 'Northeast Pilly Girls,' Jacqueline W. Brown's 'Willie,' Paula Whyman's 'Driver's Education,' and Jan Ellison's 'The Color of Wheat in Winter' are a permanent part of our curriculum. These beautifully crafted and moving stories speak volumes to my students year after year…. The Writes of Passage should be a required anthology for all high school students. The stories inside this precious book will get teachers and students thinking, speaking, and feeling." – Afonso S. Albergaria Jr. (English teacher, The Young Women’s Leadership School,