Monday, March 25, 2019

Early Caitlin R. Kiernan

Caitlin R. Kiernan was born in 1964 as Kenneth Robert Wright.  Before she transitioned around 1990,  two early stories appeared in The Freshman Sampler (1985), edited by Peggy B. Jolly, a compilation written by students in the Freshman Composition Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The first story is "The Burning" (pp. 18-20, signed as by Kenneth Robert Wright), and it concerns a fire encroaching upon the narrator's grandmother's house.  Some of the descriptions anticipate Kiernan's later lyrical prose.  Here's a sample of the narrator watching the fire:
The sky was clear as spring water, dotted with a million sparkling specks of starlight and an orange sickle of moon, building toward the bloated roundness of harvest. The fire was little more than a red halo in the darkness, moving deliberately down the eastern slope of Double Oak Mountain. We sat and watched, and listened to the strange stillness in the air. No crickets. No katydids. A dry breeze rattled the last of summer's leaves from the limbs, like the plaything of some phantom child.
The second story is "Another Christmas Carol (p. 42, signed as by Kenneth Wright) tells of an adult's disillusionment with childhood memories of Christmas.

Wright also published three professional articles in the field of paleontology (a few abstracts of Wright's work also appeared in the Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science in 1986 and 1987).  I will merely list the references to the articles here.

March 1988, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 8(1): 102-107. "Selmasaurus Russelli, A New Plioplatecarpine Mosasaur (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from Alabama" by Kenneth R. Wright and Samuel Wayne Shannon.

September 1988, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 8(3): 343-345. "The First Record of Clidastes Liodontus (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from the Eastern United States" by Kenneth R. Wright.

January 1989, Journal of Paleontology 63(1): 126-127. "On the Taxonomic Status of Moanasaurus Mangahouangae Wiffen (Squamata: Mosasauridae)"

In 2002 Kiernan contributed one further professional article:

March 14, 2002, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 22(1): 91-103. "Stratigraphic Distribution and Habitat Segregation of Mosasaurs in the Upper Cretaceous of Western and Central Alabama, with an Historical Review of Alabama Mosasaur Discoveries" by Caitlin R. Kiernan.

The Freshman Sampler had three further editions, in 1988, 1990, and 1994 (co-edited with Linda B. Moore).  I have not seen any of these later editions and do not know if Wright's contributions reappear in any of them. 

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