black bird

Black Bird novel project by Alanna Rusnak promo banner

The idea for Black Bird came in a dream; an image of a dead dandelion weed reflecting its shadow against a closed garage door.

From there it blossomed and spread - as weeds tend to do - and took on the form of a story; the tale of a lost girl, her lost mother, and their quest to find one another in their own brokenness.

Join me as I journey into their tale...



Unedited Sample:

I was tracing my finger along the bows of the wind, following the lazy maze of clouds, their lines and curves, their tones of forever.  “What colour is God?” I asked, my voice blending with the rustle of leaves and the whispers of barley in the field beyond the yard.

She turned to me slowly, gazing out through the wasted window that had closed over her eyes, the one that seemed thick and wet and reflected me back doubly big and shinning.  “God’s not no colour - he’s just bright and violent like those clouds.  He ain’t nothing...” and she squeezed a fist and held it where it blocked a cloud shaped like a seal.  “...nothing to not be worth what it takes to save a girl from a monster...”

My back started to hurt, an ache that became a slow burn that melded through my heart and down into my belly, just like every other time she started talking about my daddy.  I rolled over onto my stomach, burrowing my chin into my folded arms and thinking hard about the sun on the back of my sweater and how it’s fingered rays were slowly kneading away the pain of my father.  “I just thought he had to be a colour, is all.”

“You need that, Bird?  You need him to have a colour?”

And I really thought I did because I was smothering in the black and white of this world and if God was as grey as I was we might as well turn it in and tip over the oil furnace while we slept.

“Fine.”  She released the fist that had tried to curb all that bright violence, sent it out into chaos with a sigh, and felled that hand like a tree onto sod, rending from it’s seeding a dollop of sunshine and dropping it before my nose.  “Here.  Here’s God.”  She stood, cut grass clinging to her grey joggers.  “Flowers have a soul in every leaf!”  Her voice was sharp and mocking as she brushed the cuttings from her leg.  She weaved back to the shed to nap upon the Walmart air mattress that took up more than half the cement floor.  The door slammed shut and another strip of paint flaked off and fell to the rotting step.

I stared down at the dandelion, at it’s chubby face, at it’s tones of sunshine, at it’s woven grace and tender lines and I knew the truth of it the moment I breathed in that yellow breath of summer.  “Hello, God,” I whispered.


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