School Girl’s Puzzle by Rachel Laverdiere

Rachel talks about the how and why of her fascinating piece:

I love experimental forms of writing because the slight remove allows me to express truths I’m afraid to admit. I am fascinated with patchwork narratives—how stitching together fragmented experiences creates a tapestry. “School Girl Puzzle” is the second of a series of “quilted” essays I wrote a couple of years ago. In this essay, I examine factors that shaped my experience with school. The top half of the puzzle is the little girl before she is removed from the worst of her abuse when her parents divorce and mother and children move “to the city.” The bottom half mirrors experiences after she is removed from the limitations of her family and residual traumas and abuse when she leaves for “the big city.” Here, she discovers possibilities of a foreign world—one that revolves around education and rights—that opens up her journey toward healing.

“School Girl’s Puzzle” was first published in Bending Genres and was included in The Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions, 2022.

Rachel Laverdiere writes, pots and teaches in her little house on the Canadian prairies. She is CNF editor at Atticus Review and the creator of the creative writing program Hone & Polish Your Writing. Find Rachel’s recent prose in Bending Genres, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Burningword Literary Journal and other fine journals. In 2020, her CNF made The Wigleaf Top 50 and was nominated for Best of the Net. For more, visit

Header photo by Emma Frances Logan on Unsplash

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