Book-Length Works in Progress
Set in the modern Rust Belt, this is the story of Mary and Wesley Vipperman, a young and educated couple who experience sudden poverty when their positions are both jettisoned in a newspaper’s office-wide purge. Mary attends graduate school on credit cards only to learn she’s priced herself out of entry-level teaching jobs. Wesley—who knows the fickle nature of a worker’s usefulness from his father’s experience with the steel industry—launches a piecemeal hodgepodge of work gained via Craigslist and newspaper classifieds, where the most regularly recurring paycheck comes from the plasma bank. Told through Wesley’s first person, past tense perspective, the work examines the strain this family feels as they grapple with a world that no longer values skills they’ve spent their lives developing.
Avery Jansen is the tragically unsuccessful unsuccessful younger brother of a dead grunge rock star. With his life ringed by a series of largely self-initiated fissures, he hires a pair of backing musicians and takes off on one more tour, simultaneously driven forward and held back by his family and past.
In this novella, protagonist Aiden Carlisle wants to know how it feels under proper stage lights. The Liverpool street musician fights to carve a place for his original tunes between the Beatle-themed nostalgia acts and human statues command the city’s busking market by impersonating others. Lonely and desperate for a peek at the world outside his city, Aiden uses a fake ID to rent hostel rooms and meet exotic travelers until Leena shows up from America with neon orange hair and just enough recklessness to help him overcome his obstacles to a proper stage: street performer squabbles, cops who mistake him for homeless, a passive-aggressive ex-girlfriend, his day job sorting donated clothes at a charity warehouse, and his nemesis—a banjo-playing faux Beatle. This story was outlined and constructed during Rexroat's stint as a 2014 Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Fellow in Cassis, France.
A chaplain at a veterans' home contemplates his own mortality while caring for elderly soldiers. A young man spends a last night with his girlfriend before bailing on his hometown to pursue work in the Pacific Northwest. A retired coal miner loathes his day job selling old helmets and lamps at his niece's antique shop, but the bills have to get paid. A group of high school kids accidentally topple the dead steel mill where their fathers once worked. This collection of Rust Belt stories examines the spirit, elasticity, and determination of working class Midwesterners.
Thrift Store coats
Paper Doll Army
Their mother already dead of an overdose, two young girls cope with their father's heart attack and set out to navigate life in a poor southern Kentucky town. Youngest daughter Sadie will leave as soon as she's able, while Emma, the eldest, doesn't get a choice in the matter. Over a series of years and encounters, the sisters' relationship shifts, but it's always defined by what happened that late summer afternoon. In progress. .