Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My Father's Paradox (fiction)

story published at Eclectica



At 1/04/2006 03:51:00 PM, Blogger Alan Howard said...

Now THAT was awesome!

I have to say that not a lot of what you write is of interest to me. And yet, you've written (at least) two stories now of your 'father', and both of them have been completely engrossing for me.

I read too much and do too much to spend too much time on any one item of writing. If it doesn't grab me in the first paragraphy, I skip-read it, looking for 'key words' or phrases that stand out in the following paragraphs. If nothing stands out, I go find something else to read or do.

A lot of your fiction has, unfortunately, not been of interest to me. I hope that's ok with you, as I am happy to live by the philosophy, "You can't please everyone all the time", and hope that you believe it too. But where something of yours DOES grab me, it really grabs me.

Well done on this story, and keep up the good work!

At 1/04/2006 04:28:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks. I don't expect everyone to read everything I write. I've never read all of Shakespeare's plays for example, so I'd hardly expect people to do the same for the much more mortal me. I think the most any writer can ask is that someone read through something he/she happens to write and I'm very grateful when that happens in any form.

It means a lot to me when people comment in some way that makes it clear that they've read what I've written. I recently had a political article linked to one of the bigger sites and got some 400 hits out of it (a lot for me), but not a single one of those linked through that site left any indication that they'd read the thing.
I suspect the actual number of people who read my fiction here is very small, certainly much smaller than the number who read my volleyball articles. In fact, my running joke is that I get more hits from people looking for pictures of naked volleyball players (which don't exist on this site) than I do people who read my fiction or historical stuff.

I would say though that certain writers have grown on me. Pat Conroy, a modern Southern Gothic style writer, was someone whose work I read many years ago, but felt no compulsion to read everything. For some reason, his non-fiction book about his basketball career, My Losing Season, turned out to be a key to his fiction for me and led me to go back and check out the novels that hadn't interested me. It's just the way the reader/writer relationship works sometimes.

While the two stories you've liked are "father" stories, I hope its clear that the fathers in the stories are quite distinct and not necessarily "real" in a literal sense. I don't know how much of the Pardox father is a story that's well known or interesting to non-Americans.
Fascinating thing about the internet is that I get the opporutnity to find out.
Again, thanks for the very positive reaction to this post.

At 1/04/2006 10:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this piece, CL. I could take even more exposition on the theories.

Oddly, and really, my father signed the only letter he sent me at college, "E.F Morse." It was jarring.

EQ wasn't something men were supposed to grok back when. Because I was brought up by men, (my stepfather & father), I'm probably lite on EQ myself. (Emotional Quotient.)

I suppose the only thing I'd want on a piece like this in a more formal context is in a footnote or appendix to know where or if it veered in the skeleton points from 'actual' history? Lest I say something like 'As CL says about Daniel Ellsberg . . .' & have taken you for Gospel for the essential facts in addition to the Truth.

The family electro-dynamics are riveting -- the little girl v. the boy & the Dad.

Where and how any of us breaks out of the banal is always interesting. (I'm not suggesting the so-called banal isn't precious, but there is 'relief' in which someone casts a different kind of memorable shadow.)

At 1/04/2006 11:01:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

For a moment, I thought he would have signed it "P. Blog Sr."
I'm glad you liked the story.
One of the very hard things in writing a story like this is that "truth" often seems more imaginative than any "story" details we might create. In this case, it's hard to hide the fact that the story has some basis in history.
I actually thought about footnoting it to clarify some of the historical details and feared that it might seem too pretentious. It's one of the reasons that one of the my posts last week does talk about the real history of the Pentagon Papers. Looking back, I had to write that article to get back to looking at fictionalizing the material.

As often happens with you, you caught the bit I enjoyed creating most which was the younger sage sister.

I was nervous about getting too wonk with the game theory details, partly because it's so "analytical" and partly because my own understanding of game theory is so shallow. For whatever reason, a couple people have now mentioned that they would have been perfectly happy to see more discussion of "decision theory" which plays a role in Pentagon philosophy during the War in Vietnam.

I'd say "God only knows what form of analyses is currently being used in Iraq" but that might literally and eerily be true.

I do still wonder if there are modern Ellsbergs sitting around sitting on huge horrid secrets of this war. There have been a few like Sibel Edmonds and the British Katherine Gun (what a name) who have been equally brave, but haven't quite had anything as voluminous to reveal.

If only we'd actually read the Pentagon Papers.


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