Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the first rough draft of "Snapped Green Bean Girl:"
How does the written word keep sacred the memory of someone who helped grow you into who you are today? Especially when memories meander, and time presses each one like a petal with faded color.
I was a girl made for snapping beans, fast and efficient. Just a flick of the wrist, twisting the ends off so that Granny and her sisters could set to canning them. Now, that I think back on it, the whole process seems brutal, as if my young stemming fingers were breaking knuckles or silencing voices by twisting the neck. The smell of a snapped green bean is sweeter than death, and I think it lingers on the fingers longer.
What of the withered stem, the browning decay on a plant? You cut it back, because trauma encourages growth.
Does it? It seems I was the only snapped green bean girl grown without brothers or sisters, no peas in a pod—unlike my Granny and Paw Paw who had several in their pods. I was the only snapped green bean girl among taller elderly relatives attending funerals that came faster than festivals...