Monday, February 28, 2011

The Gittel - Marjorie Sandor




I wondered if it would happen. I never thought that it would be so dramatic though.

I always thought that I had a decent sense of how to view the world through characters in a book. I thought I had a pretty solid sense of right and wrong. That I had a good solid level of compassion and love. I knew the suffering of women…of races other than my own. I thought that I could place myself into characters heads and really see where they were within a story. I thought I possessed that skill for years. At least the amount of time that I really considered myself to be a reader.

All that is over now.

The way I read a majority of my stories has forever been changed…and will continue to change.

You see, prior to the birth of my son, I read stories as a man. A man of a certain age, race and within a certain social structure…dictated by my finances and culture…you get what I’m saying.

Now, it’s as if all that has been thrown upon the rocks. Maybe I shouldn’t be that dramatic.

Maybe I should consider what has happened to be an enhancement.

Since the birth of my son, really, the way I approach these stories has changed. I think I can still draw a lot from my past and use the stories to discover who I am, but now, I am reading them as a father…not as the man that I described above.

As the man above, but enhanced as a father.

I think that it rounds me off rather nicely. And, as I grow into fatherhood, and as my son grows, and I learn from him, my perceptions and the messages the stories convey and the lessons they teach, and the pasts that they open up and explain… these stories will no doubt shift.

For example, this story. “The Gittel”.

Last summer, I really don’t know how I would have interpreted it. I would have read it as a soon-to-be father. I didn’t have the capacity to feel the emotions that I do now as I read it. Now as a father, I see it though different eyes. I feel the story with a different heart. I know the pains and joys of a father and a husband. And knowing that these feeling will evolve, I imagine that if I read this story 3 years from now, it would have a completely different impact.

Now, this causes me to wonder, will there be a perceptible shift in my thoughts as I write about these stories. Will my writings from a couple of years ago be something completely different than what I write now? Will this journal forever be changed?

Stories about children in the Holocaust, a war, or murdered. Parents fighting and how a child feels this. Families in crisis.

It will all be new to me.

An adjustment – realignment.

I suppose it’s an evolution.

I have grown into a new position in life. And I fully believe that when I began this exercise in reading and writing, that I was at the point in my life where I was ready to engage in such an “experiment”.

There has been a huge pause in my readings of these collections. I have been reading…just not The BASS.

I think that my writers shadow (the being that exists within me that is a reader and writer) has purposely taken a pause…allowing me to digest my new situation in life, and my ability to read and write about these stories will and I feel is returning.

For example, I have read a total of 7 stories from this edition since October. 7 stories in 4 months. That’s about the pace I had when I first started.

I think it’s time to get back to reading and writing. I have a purpose in this life, and these stories play a major role in discovering that purpose…allowing me to discover myself.

And now to discover myself as a father.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Secrets - Deborah Seabrooke





It took a little while for me to get into this story, and as I type this I am conflicted as to whether or not I really enjoyed it. I mean, we have here another story where a character (main) is dealing with the infidelities of one of their parents.

Sure it’s the 1980s and we are still discovering that in the 80s, divorcing and having affairs “was the thing to do”.

It was really until the last 3 or 4 pages that the story presented itself to me differently…as a story of a girl discovering the reality that she is living in.

Why do I see this?

I suppose it has to do with the fish in the hatchery the girl references throughout the story.

The camouflaged brown bass swimming together in their tank, and their “reveal” when they break the surface looking for food from a visitor.

As I read this story, I thought about my own father and his secrets. I’m sure he holds many, but as Alzheimer’s erodes his memory, those secrets will fade away.

I suppose that could be a good thing. There are secrets that we should never know. I’m not sure what secrets he could hold that would really shock me though. I think there is enough separation between us now and I have confronted him on the issues that may have upset me…so I am secure in the knowledge that the secrets he is loosing are not all that important.

I imagine that someday there will be someone in my life that will be looking at the pool of water that is my life and at the swimming fish wondering what they hold…and what will be revealed if one of those fish surfaces for food.

I’m afraid that they will not be pleased with what lies below the surface. They will not see beautiful fish.