Iowa Writes

from Hollywoodland: An American Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a girl who was born with the purest golden locks anyone had ever seen. She lived in a rich, beautiful castle, with acres and acres of green grass all around. Her mother, a vain and difficult woman, was envious of her daughter's gold tresses. So much so that, one night, as the girl lay sleeping in her narrow bed, her mother crept up beside the pillow and snipped off the golden curls, strand by strand, and sold them for money at the market the next day.

Sharlene turns the page anxiously, one finger licking the candy-smooth paper, the long grass in the yard tickling her ankles. Fairy tales are so much better than the sharpness of everyday life. She prefers the clouds moving aimlessly above her head, a rainbow reflected in their pillowy whiteness. She takes comfort in the illustrations of rough stone castles and golden-haired princesses, prefers fuzziness to concrete detail. She reads them over and over until her lips move effortlessly as she sits in front of the mirror, pulling a brush through her pale hair. She is hypnotized by the sound of her own voice, her reflection illuminating the glass. She sighs, winding a lock around her index finger, then places the tip in her mouth, sucking greedily. Her hair tastes of soap and dirt, the cloying, chalky taste of flowers and dust.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

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Jennifer Banash's Hollywoodland: An American Fairy Tale was published in 2006 by Impetus Press, an independent publisher based in Iowa City. Founded on a mountain of contempt for mainstream publishing and a dislike for the rigid constraints of experimental presses, Impetus Press began with the desire to bridge the gap between experimental and commercial publishing.

Impetus Press site

This page was first displayed
on July 05, 2008

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