Checking Out

Overview

Set in a small Southern town during the Reagan presidency, the poems in Tim Peeler's Checking Out form a narrative arc that follows the fortunes of a young motel desk clerk and his fellow employees. The motor lodge, once the eastern boundary of the town, now exists in a swirl of economic development. As a result, much of the action occurs in the ambiguous area where unstated traditions and social change collide. Idealistic and less than a year out of college, the young clerk ...

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Overview

Set in a small Southern town during the Reagan presidency, the poems in Tim Peeler's Checking Out form a narrative arc that follows the fortunes of a young motel desk clerk and his fellow employees. The motor lodge, once the eastern boundary of the town, now exists in a swirl of economic development. As a result, much of the action occurs in the ambiguous area where unstated traditions and social change collide. Idealistic and less than a year out of college, the young clerk encounters the best and worst of humanity.

Peeler established the psychological and physical setting of the story, then introduces the profession of colorful eccentrics who populate these pages. He lays out in detail the quirky nocturnal episodes, often violent and absurd, that eventually cause the clerk to "silently search for an escape." Finally, Peeler describes the haunted nature of the narrator's motel memories as he considers their place in his life 25 years later.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781891885716
  • Publisher: Hub City Writers Project
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Pages: 72
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

A past winner of the Jim Harrison Award for contributions to baseball literature, Tim Peeler lives in Hickory, North Carolina, where he directs the Learning Assistance Program at Catawba Valley Community College. He has published over six hundred poems, stories, essays, and reviews with university presses and small presses, and his work has appeared everywhere from RAW BONE PRESS to HBO and Time Life. He has run the small press magazine Third Lung Review since 1986. Checking Out is his ninth book.

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Read an Excerpt

What did he see when he
came out here past the town
after the dust settled on the war?
Did he tour the landfill ground,
thinking of a restaurant, a motor court
like the ones he'd seen in Asheville?

He'd made his money in monuments
like Wolfe's Gant, powerful hands,
a careful chisel; in walking somewhere,
his nephew had described how he
would go faster and faster till he arrived
at a run, even in his seventies.

When the highway widened
and the town marched slowly
toward his motel, restaurant,
his drive-in theater, it was whispered
that he might be a genius, and soon
folks began to name their sons after him.

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