Uncanny Vale

Home to the Literary Creations
of Erin Wilcox

"Commando" Published in Crack the Spine

My story “Commando” is featured in this week’s issue of Crack the Spine. “Commando” is a coming-of-age tale that examines a young woman’s fraught relationship with her body, her mother, and the world. I tried many points of view, many structural experiments, and what finally seemed to work was this combination of simultaneous removed narrative distance (neither character is named) and intimate perspective. Have a read and feel free to comment, either here or at CTS. I’d love to know what you think!

Cynthia (not verified) said:

Erin has an uncanny ability to capture the tension between parent and young adult child. And she magically puts herself in the each person’s shoes, so that we understand both sides of suffering. And the deep connection that binds them, even as the young woman works to break free, just enough to claim her own life, even as it puts her on the brink of disaster. The once young woman/daughter in me gets it. The mother in me feels for the mother in the story. The story is reminiscent of struggles my son and I have faced as he navigated his life away from home but came home to visit. Learning to let go and to navigate the fear is each mother’s burden.

Straightarrow (not verified) said:

Our principal job as parents is to give our children wings. Sounds simple but is a very complicated process as this story so powerfully demonstrates. Back in the day, the rites of passage seemed less complex: infancy, off to kindergarten, dating, high school graduation, college or trade, marriage, kids, grand kids, retirement, death. Each step had its stresses, but the pattern was generally common, understood and predictable in most families. That’s just what we did. I can’t recall experiencing the emotions described in “Commando” when any of our children left the nest. None were pushed out; each left when the time seemed right to them. We have celebrated their successes, and we have empathized with their disappointments. We are very proud of the lives they have made for themselves without our hovering in the background. Though geographically widely separated, our bonds with them are closer than ever. Yet, we have observed how difficult it has been for each of them to release their own fledglings. I don’t think it is a matter of greater or lesser love. Perhaps, it is because the world today seems less certain and less safe. In any case, Erin’s story conveys a very mature and incisive perspective well beyond her years for the relative tensions between letting go and the desire for independence. She is a perceptive and gifted writer.

Terry Preston (not verified) said:

Erin…Powerful, Deep and So Real!! I was there with the swimmer as the swimmer…angry, sure of myself, afraid. Then I was there as the parent switching between the dad and the mom…trying not to worry, getting angry, hoping for the best, then swimming out/not willing to just stand by any longer. I was just so relieved that they both survived yet felt bummed that it wasn’t more of a turning point in their relationship. Relationships can be so challenging. :)