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Grimsley Short Story is “Right Here”

Friday from the Archives: “He’s Right Here, He Says” a short story by Jim Grimsley from NCLR 25 (2016)

Don’t wait to register for this summer’s Squire Writing Workshop, produced by the NC Writers’ Network, featuring three phenomenal writers, including this week’s archive author, Jim Grimsley.

In the short story “He’s Right Here, He Says,” Grimsley treats the reader to an old couple, or rather, a new couple who are older people, learning to navigate around and with each other. “She has buried one husband, and soon, she thinks, she will bury him, Edward, as well. He can see the thought plain on her face from time to time. This is perhaps the one thought she never voices aloud, though there could be others. Some man named Albert married her when she was seventeen, divorced her at forty; some other man named Carlton married her at forty-four and died at sixty-five; and he, Eddie, her third husband, met her in church when she was almost seventy, and they fell in love as easily as old, lonely people do when they need companionship, when they have started talking to their houseplants, when they need someone with whom to share expenses.”

The story goes from the mundane small moments of every day life (washing dishes, dusting collectables) to illuminating interior monologues to the climax, which ends with the title phrase, “He’s Right Here.” Pain is perhaps inevitable for the human body and the best thing someone can do is help another deal with it.

Grimsley’s mastery of theater form is evident in the short story as character is paramount and action, as small as it is in this piece, moves the story forward step by step. Grimsley will be teaching the art of writing creative nonfiction and memoir in the Squire’s workshop. Students will benefit from learning from his story-telling skills.

Read the entire essay on ProQuest or purchase a copy of the 2016 issue with the feature “25 Years of NCLR“.