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John M. Solensten
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In the "hep" rhythm of her own Swingster voice18-year-old Margo depicts the restless lives of young people living on the verge between the Great Depression and WWII. As Margo attempts to escape from the limitations of small town life and the desperate struggle of her eccentric family to survive she becomes the recorder of universal struggles of young people in a world which, as she puts it, "No one is quite sure what will happen next." Artie Shaw once said, Swing is … a frantic and somewhat crazy mood." SWING captures the personal way in which young people lived and experienced that mood.

Marty stands on the bed, barely keeping her balance on the give and sway of the poor old springs. She lifts her hands heavenward, then presses them together like a pious little brat of a saint. Me, I’m standin’ on the floor, next to the door, keeping an eye out for Dad and Mother.

"Brothers and sisters, dancing is sin and inflames the young with unspeakable passions!" she cries in a low, preacherly voice, her eyes lifted heavenward.

"Well, who can resist that invitation!" I cry like somebody (inspired) in the congregation.

"Fools Rush In..." she cries in the deepest voice she can manage.

"Where angels fear to jitterbug!" I chant.

"Lord! Lord! Ye wicked generation of jitterbugs, your elders are going mad with your jive!" she cries.

"They’re just not wise to our divine exercise!"

"Repent, Little Sister!"


"Show us just a TINY bit of penitence, Little Sister!"

"Well, I know that sometimes the sweet, anxious faces of guys are so terribly serious and earnest as they press against us," I plead in my best simpy voice.

"Better REALLY repent, Little Sister!"

"As those hot guys try to defy the law of cubic displacement and occupy the same space at the same time...

"Abomination, Sister!"

"Oh, but our heavenly sky is full of Stardust and skylarks!"

"Sacrilege! Sacrilege!"

"And I’d rather listen to Hoagy than some old fogy!"

"Oh, Sister, I can see you ain’t repentin’ one bit!"

"Not while It’s A Lovely Day Tomorrow is a hit on the Hit Parade. So let’s take a chance..."

"And dance!" Marty cries, jumpin’ off the bed.

Then we dance, hummin’ In The Mood together...

Suddenly Mother stands there in the doorway shaking her head in disbelief.

We stop.

"Your father is taking a nap," she says, her voice practically a whisper.

"Aw! Aw!" we cry.

So, you see we can be wicked little sinners, confusin’ our elders, et cetera.

Meanwhile, you--Bud--you gotta keep dancin’ your footsteps on the sands of time. Gotta keep the dance goin’! Gotta--even if Mr. Harkin threw you out of the theater ‘cuz you got up there on the little stage and made a tall, crazydance shadow like you were dancing with Ginger Rogers--who was oh, so tall up there on the screen!

Was it crazy? Was it make believe? Hey! We NEED make-believe ballroom time!!!

Cuz things can be depressing in a depression.

My unhappy father seems to be in love with long distance these days. He broods like he doesn’t want to be here with us. Sometimes he makes us all feel like crap and sometimes Sis and I wonder who this man God or somebody has made our father REALLY IS. When he gets that angry look on his face he’s like a stranger to us. Have we done something wrong? Are we really adopted or something? I and my sister ask ourselves.

Yes, who really is he?

For now, I’M just a girl who secretly calls herself SWING.

S (Yes, that’s me--Swing, Swing, Swing!)

P.S. (As in Pretty Serious) I think a lot about Matt, the sweet guy I’ve known for just ages. He’s like a guy out of Our Town--the kind of guy who hangs around like he thinks you’re destined for him, no matter what. Got to SWING away from him someday soon. Darn! Probably gonna HURT him!

John Solensten has published three novels and two short story collections. He has also published more than 20 individual short stories and memoirs and more than 80 poems. His plays have been produced by theaters in Minneapolis, Duluth, St. Paul and Oklahoma City. His novel Blue Wing was inspired by his frequent visits to the famous Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA, the scene of Buddy Holly's final gig.

Fiction Books :: Coming of Age Books

ISBN: 1590886380
ISBN(13-digit): 9781590886380
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 194
Paper Weight (lb): 8.4

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