Personal Effect

Rated 4.80/5 based on 5 reviews
In this poignant short-story by writer Matthew Farrington, a woman comes to terms with her mother's rejection and the subsequent estrangement from her family while attempting to clean out the family's summer home. Tasked with cleaning out the house, Sarah slowly reads the last letter her mother wrote to her while examining their relationship against the backdrop of childhood summers.
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About Matthew Farrington

I never know what to write to someone by way of introduction. Which is odd because I'm so introverted I generally feel like handing out a bio when I go to a party so that way I could sit in a corner and not have to talk to anyone who didn't find me interesting on paper. I'm good on paper.
In general I am a mild-mannered, would-be writer living in Cleveland, Ohio. Where it's cold. I guess I shouldn't say 'would-be' writer. I write. Sometimes in complete sentences.
I write every day. Probably like a lot of you. I am at work now on a novel. That sounds so ominous. Or pompous. "What do you do?" "Oh, I'm working on a novel." It doesn't explain anything I guess because when I say it out loud to actual people they sometimes say, "Well, yeah, but what do you DO?" I have no idea.
My process is simple. I could explain it this way: I wake early, turn the flame on under the kettle on my way to the keyboard. And I write. And write. And write. Or, if I'm honest, I stare, and then stare some more wondering why I can't channel Dostoyevsky or Edith Wharton. But I try to crank out 250 words between the time the tea goes cold and I have to go to work. Yes, like most writers I have a job that keeps me in tea and comfortable sweaters.
My life is simple. I can't claim to be a minimalist but I believe whole-heartedly in simplicity and in intentional living. I make decisions based on real need and luckily I don't understand anything at all about technology so I never really want anything new. The result being that I own a MacBook Air and a second hand couch. I stopped looking for bigger places to spread out and opted for a small place to encourage interiority. It worked. I don't have a television. I sometimes watch movies or old sitcoms on Netflix but I'd rather read a book. I like silence. And I like solitude. I have friends but I'm happier alone. My mother thinks that's weird.
I have a blog, where I sometimes write things. I think the blogosphere is a good idea in theory but requires a great deal of discipline in practice. Shameless self-promotion again:
Check me out if you want. Leave a comment. I like to chat.
I think the most important thing a person who wants to write can do is read. A lot. And I do. I broke down this year and bought a Kindle. Yes, I like it. But no, I have not stopped going to the library or to the bookstore. I usually have two or three books going at any one time. I like dogs. I'm kind. What else do you want to know?

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Review by: Mightymike123 on Dec. 20, 2013 :
I just finished both of Farrington's stories. I don't like this one as much as "The Rest of Me" but it was good nonetheless. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
(review of free book)
Review by: Andy Stone on Aug. 9, 2013 :
I was told by a friend of mine to read this story. I'm not really into the genre as I saw it when I read the tags, more of a scifi/horror devotee. There's a lot I could say but the most important thing is that I don't think it should be free. This author deserves to start making money. I hope he'll charge buck for his short stories in the future. And I hope he'll continue to publish on smashwords and other places. This guy deserves attention. The story is well-written, held my interest throughout. I guess I would have liked to see more of a conclusion but that's the nature of short stories sometimes. Anyway, great job!
(review of free book)
Review by: Jason Becker on Aug. 7, 2013 :
Good story. I was hooked from the beginning. Not what I expected and it left me wanting more. My only problem with it though is its lack of resolution and revelation. The reader learns some things about Sarah and about her family but the secret,which I assume is sexual abuse, is never actually revealed. That kind of drove me nuts but it makes the story better in a way, being left with questions. I'd like to see more from Farrington.
(review of free book)
Review by: Helena Grastakis on Aug. 6, 2013 :
This is a charming story and like the previous reviewers, I want to know more! I hope this will be part of a serial or end up in a book or something. I like the starkness of the writing. The style is almost poetic in some ways. I can't find anything else by the author but I hope he will make more available on smashwords and other places. My only criticism is that I think Farrington could develop the characters a bit more, but that may be the constraint of a short story. I just really wanted to get to know more about the family.
(review of free book)
Review by: Lucy Brainard on Aug. 5, 2013 :
Matthew Farrington's story is really quite good. I was just roaming around looking for freebies and saw that this one was just reviewed so I took a look. I hope to see more from this author. There is a certain depth to the writing, the attention to detail, especially when he describes the 'feel' of the house, that I think marks real talent. I agree with the other reviewer though. I think this could be part of a larger body of work.
(review of free book)
Review by: Arthur Schlessinger on Aug. 5, 2013 : (no rating)
This is a great story. What I love about Farrington's writing is the sparse nature of it. It's not a bare-bones minimalism exactly, more like he's painting a good picture while zeroing in on his point. I could see this as part of another, larger story definitely because I really want to know what happens next. There is a gentle flow to Farrington's writing that I really like as well. I hope he will publish more soon.
(review of free book)
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