As you know, I can’t let go of my Fathers and Sons stories. I continue to think of little and big things to do to them to improve their development, their integrity, and their overall literary glory. The most recent idea I had was to move a big chunk of one of the early stories (in the chronology) into one of the later stories as a flashback. (Flashbacks are all over the place in these stories, and I attribute that to reading Go Down, Moses, in which important revelations about past events are provided in later stories almost casually, sometimes in just a single word in the right place, and can be easily overlooked by a cursory reading.)
The problem with this latest idea was that by removing that chunk from the earlier story, I was essentially gutting it, leaving far too little behind to be called a story. I tried thinking of ways to hint at what would be missing, to suggest there was more to the story than the trifle that would have been left, but that seemed more contrivance than story telling. Then I thought that maybe I should just leave it all alone. Then I didn’t know what to think.
And then, I caught a cold.
I am now home from work for the day (in sweats and in a semi-coherent state of mind). I had come home from work yesterday before noon, knowing I wasn’t going to be productive. I crawled into bed and slept for five hours only to rise and eat some popsicles (to soothe the burning throat) and then crawl back into bed again. I slept fitfully, tossing and turning enuf to make the dog decide the floor was a more comfortable place to sleep for the while.
But in those restless turnings I had a revelation about this latest fix I want to make to the story. The answer came to me in a fever dream. Basically, I don’t need to remove the whole chunk of the earlier story. I just need to make a revelation about it in the later story. This revelation perfectly fits the theme of the later story and resonates across all of the stories with its significance. (I don’t know where these epiphanies come from, but I’m grateful for them.)
So I need to tinker with that earlier story and make the insertion in the later story. And then . . . call it done?