“Yes, really” by Katharine Norman

Open: “Yes, really” by Katharine Norman

This “fiction for three voices” is sent via e-mail to readers’ inboxes every five minutes until all seven mailings are delivered. This story is told using an epistolary style in which two characters (Josie and Doreen) are writing e-mail messages to a loved one and friend (respectively), and one character (Annie) whose stream-of-consciousness arrives as an e-mail. Annie cannot type or dictate because she is blind, deaf, mute, and mentally handicapped from birth— a “disabled resident” in the “C-block Special Care unit—” so as readers we need to be willing to accept these e-mails from her as a way to access her perspective. Her voice is the most poetic aspect of this work, presenting visually textured messages that contain both ASCii art and interspersed lines of highly metaphoric free verse.

Whether you read the e-mails as they arrive, or simply in order, the interconnected stories, situations, and perspective of each character will enrich the narrative, developing in directions full of irony, reversals of fortune, and changes in attitudes— including your own.

Yes, really.

Featured in New Media Writing Prize 2010