~ I lay next to Al, the man who would have married me, except for the rules.
St. Croix Valley, 1977
Gifted teacher Meg Joyce has a simple plan: marry well, make a home, guide her students with developmental delays. And, overcome her family’s litany of taboos. She’s almost there. Until her fiancé caves to his dad’s disapproval, and a teacher strike threatens her toehold on security. In a world where women’s opportunities are limited, Meg takes a job visiting the homebound for St. Michael the Archangel parish—parishes don’t go on strike.
Far from landing in a holy haven, Meg finds herself caught in the crosshairs between the handsy priest from prayer group whose eloquent sermons fool the crowd, and the salt of the earth priest who turns her world upside down when they fall in love.
Against the backdrop of a Catholic Church reeling from Vatican II’s changes to long-held traditions, as well as impacts from the sexual revolution, Meg grapples with the underbelly of an institution she once trusted, a crisis of faith in God, and a reckoning with her dreams.
Midwest Review, 2nd Place, Poetry Contest, University of Wisconsin-Madison Writers’ Institute, 2015
Creative Wisconsin Anthology, Honorable Mention, Jade Ring Contest, Wisconsin Writers Association, 2019
Vote Like an Inchworm, Medium.com, 2020
Performed at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest, Summerfest lakefront grounds
The Magic Fiddle
The Fairy Ring
Shanahan and the King
The Knight of Terrible Valley
Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free: A Covid-19 Story for Children
by Lora Hyler
Reviewed for Wisconsin Writers Association online blog, 2020
We live immersed in storied histories of people and places. My work is to write about them.