I seemed to have found enuf stillness and self-respect within me to finish my latest Fathers and Sons short story “Twice Blest.” I got a solid first draft completed over the weekend. I’ll need to work on it, of course. Perhaps flesh it out. Perhaps tighten it here or there. That will come with time. At least that’s how it works for me.
I’d said in an earlier post that what goes on in this story will affect every word of every story subsequently in the chronology of the cycle (and even the four that are already published and thus carved in stone). I’d also said that the thoughts and feelings of the character in this story are completely unlike my own life experience, so I was struggling to create out of whole cloth.
This is odd in two ways. The first is that, as I was digging through my dark and troubled psyche for this story, I realized that the thoughts/feelings my character has are probably felt by many, and maybe even most, new fathers in varying degrees. It’s the kind of thing we’re not likely to be proud of or even admit to, but I think it’s there.
The second is that this story was supposed to be a toss off. The character, Joe, is the first father (and eventually grandfather) in these stories (thus far he makes an appearance in “Men at work and play”), but I had really found myself focusing on his son, Davey, and his grandson, Curt. So I said to myself, “Self, Joe needs more love.” And I thought I should toss off a quick, early story in the cycle to flesh out his character a little. I was surprised at the sudden depth and resonance of the story that came my way. So much for a toss off.
So, it feels good. It feels almost like momentum, which is an unfamiliar feeling of late. I’d already written the next story in the chronology, but it seemed too sweet at the time, so now I can work on it informed by the developments in “Twice Blest.” And then comes the third story in the cycle, which has the tentative title of “Boys are like puppies,” and which I think is true in many ways.