Saturday, January 21, 2006

Gina Ochsner

Have you ever been somewhere, a room in your house perhaps, some normally non-spooky locale where you suddenly feel an invisible presence, as if someone or something was treating you to a supernatural visit? Perhaps you thought it was from watching too many episodes of Crossing Over, or overload from that afternoon with the flu you spent watching old reruns of Dark Shadows. But hey, maybe it's simply a friend or enemy or family member or former resident recently passed on who's back for a little visit. Perhaps they return to resolve a few old issues, or from reluctance to take up permanent quarters in the great hereafter, or curiosity, or regret, or a simple unwillingness to leave the realm of the living.

Gina Ochsner writes about the dead. In beautifully wrought prose she suggests that if the dead themselves may be reluctant to leave this incarnation of unfinished business, it may be in part because the living are also unwilling to let them go. She also implies that perhaps these clumsy shades are reflections of us all as we move through the more mundane moments of our lives, unconscious and oblivious to the exciting possibilities of existence.

Eleven metaphorical tales of troubled spirits haunt the pages of The Necessary Grace to Fall, a collection that won the 2002 Oregon Book Award for Fiction and the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction and publication in 2002 by the University of Georgia Press.

Gina is a graduate of George Fox University where she teaches part-time. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review and Nimrod, among others. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Raymond Carver Award from Humboldt State, and the Katherine Ann Porter Award.

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Photo by Carla Perry

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