For a while I’ve been interested in the idea of personal mythologies—how we’re shaped by the family lore passed down from parents or grandparents. But what happens when your personal history collides with events of larger cultural significance? Here, Watkins weaves a tapestry of fiction, historical fact, and autobiography to merge her own origin story, including her father’s involvement with Charles Manson, with the larger history of the American West, which is, of course, a history of violence.
First published in The Hopkins Review, Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 2009, and available to read here. Collected in Battleborn: Stories, Riverhead Books, 2012