A Messy Job I Never Did See a Girl Do 

Mary Jane Ryals


"Mary Jane Ryals is on the case. Her new collection cave-dives into the funky depths of the Florida that tourists never see."

-Diane Roberts, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution



        There is hope in all these stories, despite the fact that the adolescent girls in them often lead less than idyllic, even frightening lives in frightening times. A good part of that hope derives from Ms. Ryal’s lyricism: through it we understand that the girls all burn with an inner strength that will carry them through the abuse, the death, the racism, and the alcoholism they must endure in their lives as "crackers" growing up in Florida’s panhandle.


ISBN 0-942979-59-1, quality paper, $9.95      Sale $3.00


ISBN 0-942979-60-5, hardcover, $19.95         Sale $8.00


128 pages


A Messy Job I Never Did See a Girl Do

  About the Author: 

Mary Jane Ryals is Poet Laureate of the Big Bend of Florida for 2008-2010. She grew up in rural northern Florida, where she lived most of her life. She has a son and daughter, Dylan and Ariel; and her husband, Michael Trammell, is also a writer. Mary Jane teaches writing at Florida State. She teaches in Spain most summers and has traveled to Vietnam, Singapore, southern Mexico and northern Africa.


Excerpt from the Book:

    I tell my toss-and-roll stomach and then my Aunt Bebe it’s just a plastic flipper with a strap for a heel, the kind that goes with fins and snorkel, stuck in the chain-link fence by the nearly crimson and flooded St. Mark’s River. Just a plastic nothing flipper flung and stuck by the flood. I walk out of the still mucky Posey’s Oyster Bar that I live in the second story of and pull the nothing flipper out with a thwack to show her, since I have one silver-film eye and one regular. The silver eye helps me see things others do not. But the flood spell has already crept upon my aunt, and I can see by her face that the shadow of things burns in her, my mama Meredith’s pretty sister, Aunt Bebe.     
    Uncle Bucky says the big company that stores their oil down here donated the orange barge. Down here where the St. Marks River and the Wakulla River meet then empty out into the Gulf of Mexico. The orange barge the National Guard and the Red Cross got onto to get Aunt Bebe and me and other people with skiffs to help out. Uncle Bucky said the barge and all the boats it dragged with it drifted past the deck on the water, past the dance floor, past the restaurant and bar, along…