Large Kitchen Clock

Midway Journal: The Broken Clock

I’m proud to present “The Broken Clock,” my first story co-written with the fabulous Lynn Mundell

We admired each other’s writing, critiqued each other’s work, became friends, and have now stretched our relationship into being collaborators. 

Our story is inspired by the haunted clock in the house of my dear friends in Los Angeles. I stayed there in the summer of 2022 and Lynn came to visit.

An excerpt from The Broken Clock

It’s not that the clock lags by an hour or so. That would be forgivable for such an old lady. It’s that every time she looks at it, the time is different. Five hours ahead or 12 minutes behind. When she boiled the water, it was 4:05. When she looks at the clock face again, with the coffee still draining, it is 12:43.

How do you co-write a story you may ask? In our case, it went as follows: I wrote a few lines, then Lynn wrote a few lines, and we traded the story back and forth like this several times until a story emerged. Then we discussed what the story was about and where we should take it—objective time versus Bergson’s duration, mental illness, the uncertainty of romantic bonds. Afterward, we cut all the unnecessary stuff away. Next we traded the draft back and forth again to get the ending right and finished by giving the story our best line-edit. 

The first place I submitted it to, Midway Journal, offered us publication overnight. I tend to believe the clock’s skewed time had something to do with the speediness of the editor’s acceptance. 

You can read the full story (it’s only a 1,000 words) here.

Thank you, Ralph Pennel and Midway Journal, for publishing our story. And thank you, Ken and Lori, for letting us stay in your beautiful Silver Lake house. Your haunted clock inspired us!

And, yes, pictured above is THE clock.

Looking for more? Here’s a selection of my published short fiction and nonfiction online.