tavallodet mobarak!

So, for some unfathomable reason, both NBC and NPR chose not to deliver this important piece of news: my granddaughter, Elaheh Laurel, was born on Saturday, December 26, in Portland, Oregon. “Elaheh” is the Farsi word for “goddess.” A lot of texting and Facetiming has been darting about the intertubes, but I won’t get to see her in person until early February when my wife and I make a trip up there. In the meantime, the other in-laws are in Portland for a month’s visit, which is great since mom is recovering from the C-section delivery.

Also in the meantime, my grandson, Kenneth Gunner, is here in Kansas City for a three-week visit. He’s a delight, and I mean that in more than just a doting, grandfatherly sense. He is a happy, happy baby who hasn’t developed any stranger aversion. He’ll go to anyone and loves to play. He also loves to feed people (and dogs) his Cheerios. He’ll be here for his first birthday early next month, so that will be fun.

And then, come March, my next grandchild should make his appearance. Emmett Undetermineded-as-yet-middle-name is expected to arrive then. His parents (my youngest son and his wife) live about forty minutes down the road, so I’m sure I’ll get to see Emmett a great deal.

*   *   *

I’ve been experiencing an unexpected bout of creativity (or more likely motivation) lately. I’ve muscled my latest Fathers and Sons story, “Over, Under, Through”, into really fine shape. I like what I’ve done with it, and it’s already got me to thinking about the next story in the cycle I need to write as well as what subtle linkages I can pepper into the other stories already written or yet to be written.

Which leaves me with a bit of a quandary. While several of the unpublished Fathers and Sons stories are finished in my mind, and I’ve even shopped some around for publication, with each newly written story I find new connections with the others. This makes sense, of course, because they all occur to the same characters in the same universe. And I want to incorporate those connections, either by oblique reference or character development or foreshadowing or whatever. Yet if one of the stories gets published, I consider it carved in stone. And as such, I don’t suppose I can then tinker with it to make these connections that come to me from subsequent work. Thus the quandary. Do I try to get any more published as individual stories, or do I hold on to them so I can refine them as needed until they are all finished and the entire cycle is collected into single, no-doubt-prize-worthy unit?

*   *   *

Perhaps as antidote to this, I’ve begun making notes on a different story, one that is not a part of the Fathers and Sons universe or that is connected to any of my other characters. It will be a fun story, something like “Velvet Elvis” was/is fun, though it will involve a couple of love stories. I’ve had the kernel of the idea for this story for decades — literally — and it has to do with the two words “piece” and “peace.” I’ll leave it at that, and I still have plenty of story to think through before I can even begin writing it. But it does feel good to feel motivated.

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5 Comments on “tavallodet mobarak!


  1. 1. Congrats, Grandpa!
    2. Published stories are absolutely not set in stone. I take this idea from the poetry world. The acknowledgments in poetry books often say, “Thanks to journals A, B, and C, which published X often in very different forms.” So tinker with them after publication in preparation for your book, but don’t stop sending them out. Agents and publishers like to know that individual stories in a collection have been published, in other words, that other people have loved them enough to usher them into print.

  2. pete29anderson Says:

    There’s nothing wrong with revising published stories to make a more coherent collection. Stories are never really “finished” anyway.

    Congrats on your latest arrival! My sister has the same birthday, and if I can offer some friendly advice to the parents and grandparents, it’s that you make the birthday celebration distinctly separate from Christmas. That way the kid will always feel that her day is special.

  3. Annam Says:

    What a great way to ring in the New Year!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    The idea of stories being set in stone in new in human history. When most stories when transmitted orally, I am sure that there was quite a bit of evolution from telling to telling, and from teller to teller at times.

    I have the same advice re birthdays. I have a December birthday and have had too many combined birthday/Christmas presents as a child. Never do this! Make sure she knows her birthday is special.

  5. ladyfi Says:

    Motivation is inspiring!


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