In 1993, I moved to Portland to try to write. Mostly, what I did was not find work and lose the work I found, which resulted in my being without a place to live and generally questioning what I was doing with my life. (I've since learned, via Sara Gran, that this period of our lives is referred to as Saturn's Return.)
Where I ended up: Candy Mulligan's basement, where I lived and observed with total bewilderment her devotion to her dogs. I wasn't a dog person yet. She also had three kids, who were always making noise just outside my door in the morning after I returned from working graveyard shift at Kinko's. But they were great kids, and their favorite TV shows were Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart. Needless to say, many of these things worked their way into my writing. The first story in my collection was written while I stayed there. In "Keep it From the Flame," two children are abandoned along a road...by their mother. It was a gothic inversion of what was actually going on in the house.
Candy died last week, after a long battle with cancer. Joanna Rose has sent the following announcement/remembrance (and I've added the link to OHS):
Many of you knew Candy Mulligan from the early days of Dangerous Writing. She was in the old Thursday night group. She published short fiction in a Seattle journal called Paper Radio, read with Fiction Asylum, and finished a novel that still sits in a desk drawer. She was working on a memoir.
On Thursday May 18, just around midnight, she died of cancer.
She collected stray dogs, stray cats, stray teenagers and stray writers, many of which ended up living in her basement. There was a St Pat’s party every year, and she was with us at more than one Haystack gathering.
She leaves behind her daughters Vanessa Mulligan and Nicole Ausmus, and her son MacKenzie Mulligan. Donations to the Oregon Human Society were her wish.
She didn’t want a funeral, she wanted a party. That’s in the works.
And we are all sad."