Talking with Strangers

Yesterday, I was on the phone at work, talking with a woman I had never met who was helping me unravel a work question.

She paused suddenly and mentioned that she could hear the governor’s Tuesday press conference on the radio in my office. She told me she worked in the governor’s building and had been told to bring home work. Vermont’s capital — Montpelier — like so many places in our country now, is under careful public safety scrutiny.

Then, as I’ve found happening so often since last mid-March, a stranger and I had a passionate conversation about the uncertain state of our world. While a moment before we had been talking about details, we suddenly began sharing stories of our families.

Then her cell phone crackled, and we ended our conversation before her connection broke.

Green Mountains Review Online published the first chapter of my book Unstitched: Exploring Addiction in a Small Town. The book will be published by Steerforth Press in September. May our world be a less tension-choked place by autumn.

By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

7 comments

  1. I humbly suggest if you appreciated the real world candor of Brett’s GMR chapter linked above, then please read “I Know Your Kind” by the West Virginian poet William Brewer, a winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by poet Ada Limon. Poems like Brewer’s and works like Brett’s will help all move forward in a more meaningful, less burnout ridden way. GT (full disclosure- no family or financial links to Brett or William Brewer)

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