[Below is a copy of the foreword to X&O: Short Works by me, Kate Horsley]
This collection of short works comes from and is about vastly
different stages in my personal and creative life.
“Rat” is about my childhood world in Richmond, Virginia, and
some of the major events that haunt me still.
“A Day at the Beach” is fictional but based on my experience
of the post-hippie world when idealism had pretty much gone
down the drain, leaving hedonism behind like the somewhat disgusting
crap left in the sink after the dishes have been washed.
“The Flight of the Luna Moth” was written in the same decade as the previous
two, the 70’s, but has been updated and is sadly still relevant in
terms of the tragic hardships children suffer due to adult stupid-
ity and economic shenanigans.
My adult life is starkly divided between the before and after of
my son’s death in April, 2000. The last six pieces in this col-
lection are from the “after” period.
“The Oracle: A Short Play” was one of eight plays selected in a national competition staged
at the Vortex Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for its
2010 WomensWorkx production.
“Marla in Empty Space” cannot be explained.
“One Dentist, Many Frogs” was published in the online literary
magazine Pif and has been chosen for an anthology of its best
“X and O: A Short Play” was written under an ongoing influ-
ence of theater of the absurd, including Beckett’s plays. I enter-
tain myself just thinking about this work.
“Stories for Leroy” was composed amidst horrible sickness
and raucous laughter as I hung out with Leroy, a patient in the
University of New Mexico palliative care program.
“The Buried Life: An Excerpt” is a work in progress based on
my relationship with a woman who died in 1921.
I want something in this collection to entertain you, the reader,
as my side of a conversation we should have about all the
absurd and poignant aspects of the human condition. I haven’t
figured it all out yet. Have you?