March 13, 2012

An Excerpt From Ben Lemieux's Grace

Today we present another excerpt from issue 6, as we gear up for the launch on Friday.  This one is from Grace, by Ben Lemieux.  It's a poetic and haunting story, and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.  He claims it's his first work of fiction, which makes me extremely jealous.
See you on Friday!

      The old woman shuffled slowly through the spring heat, eyes fixed on the footpath before her. Long had Grace lived in the world of her mind, far removed from the clank of the streetcars, clamour of car horns, and the shouting of vagrants and hustlers who the city had long since forgotten.
      In every town the methods are different but patterns of neglect the same. At first a person may be dismissed from a job or church group, since not everyone proves to be cut of fibre resilient or effervescent enough to have an impact on the world or community around them. Those people whose desks the discarded used to pass in the morning or whose lunches they used to share soon become like strangers or acquaintances they may have last seen at a long-ago party. Like smoke from a candle blown out.
       A person may become lonesome, reclusive, and morose. They may become a financial or emotional burden on their relatives or close friends; a burden that no one is
any longer willing to bear.
       Before long, even the small courtesies exchanged with strangers and passers-by will disappear from view, and a world that took a lifetime to build will be reduced to the mutterings and hazy memories of another new dweller of the city’s underbelly. And their existence, once brimming with the passion and alacrity of youth, will become as fragile and delicate as a desiccated plant bending under the weight of the atmosphere. If one were to pick the city up by its heels and shake it out like a dusty carpet, people such as Grace would fall off and be taken by the wind. Those remaining would tread along streets noticeably less cluttered and reverberant but would never once ask themselves how or why it was any different. Most cities had forgotten how its streets were supposed to feel long ago.

Ben Lemieux is a London (UK)-based writer whose work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, entertainment and financial websites, and business-to-business publications. “Grace” is his first work of fiction.
He will always remain a Montrealer at heart, having grown up in Mile End, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from McGill University, and later serving with the Canadian Grenadier Guards.
He can be found in coffee shops and music nights around Hackney.

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