Over, Under, Through

Despite my frettings and moanings here about being unable to write or to finish anything I start, I can report that I have finished a first draft of my Fathers and Sons story “Over, Under, Through.” I know. I’m amazed too. (More than amazed since I reached first-draft stage in a month, if this evidence can be believed.)

It’s a good story, self contained yet fully integrated to the cycle. It reflects on failed relationships between fathers and sons as they have been creeping through the stories, and it sets up what may be the climax of the cycle (to come a bit later in the sequence).

Of course, it isn’t finished yet. It’s a first draft, but it is solid. I’ve got down about 2,400 words, with about that many more words in notes that I need to plunder for whatever might contribute. There are two significant points in the notes that I know I need to fit in, more in the way of character development than plot or theme work, but good points nonetheless. After that, I’ll let the story simmer in the pot, as I do with most of them, to come back later with a fresh eye and see what strengths can be strengthened and weaknesses removed. It’s a slow method but a method that works for me.

And in the mean time what I really need to do is embark on a read through of all of the stories of the cycle, in chronological sequence, to get my bearings for the remainder I must write and to see how I can cross pollinate betwixt them. I’m beginning to think I can see an end to the writing part of this cycle. Whatever will I do with my humble self once these stories are complete?

Currently reading: The Sandcastle by Iris Murdoch. You may recall me stating some time ago that I am re-reading Murdoch’s entire fiction production from start to finish, this novel being her third. I picked up this book several weeks ago at a used bookstore here in Kansas City, in the basement where the popular novels are generally kept; I was surprised to find her there. The book is filled with the handwritten notes — in both pencil and ink — of a previous reader, so the store owner let me have it for a buck. I can’t read a word of the notes. The handwriting is florid but not so much that I can’t make out most of the letters. I think whatever was written was done in some language other than English. The book itself (published in 1968) is an British copy and says boldly “Not for sale in the U.S.A.” Sometime in its life the book crossed the Atlantic and probably bopped around for a while before landing in the basement of a bookstore in the middle of the country, waiting to finally fall into my hands. I’ve only read a few chapters so far, and Murdoch is busy with her rapid-fire introduction of characters. Not much plot yet, but it’s a welcome change to read an author whose work requires attention and even effort (rather than the more common sensational stuff that “grabs” you from the first page).

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