Monday, April 11, 2011

Gryphon – Charles Baxter



“She was right,” I yelled. “She was always right! She told the truth!” Other kids were whooping. “You were just scared, that’s all!”

Just a great little story. With the bump of Barthelme out of the way, if this story is any indication of future selections from Carver, I’ll be very pleased with this collection.

Having a son, and thinking about his future, and placing him as a character in this story, I wondered if his little mind would turn and process experiences in his life as the boys in this story do.

As my son and I take our nightly walk up one side of the street and down the other, I find myself telling him my hopes and fears for his future. My son rides in a little front carrier strapped to my chest. His head is at the level where I can whisper and he can hear me quite clearly.

I wonder if my father ever did the same.

Most of the time, I know - rather than wonder -and I am confident that my father did not whisper into my ear as I do with my son.

My father was too busy whispering into his own ear.

I tell my son that I want to be the Miss Ferenczi of this story and that I want to tell him of Gryphons and meat eating plants.

I want to tell him of things that he won’t be taught in school. I want him to question math and science and everything that he is told…and to discover truths on his own.

Does 2+2=5?

I want him to seek out resources that will challenge conventional thought. To read and listen to books and people who do not look at the world through the eyes of …us all.

I want him to find the joy and fall in love with the written word.

I want him to step through he looking glass and not be afraid of what exists there…I want him to be comfortable there.

On our nightly walks, as the days grow longer and it stays lighter longer, and the birds chip louder and the light pulls back the shadows, I can see my son’s eyes catching and focusing on new objects of interest to him.

Trees beginning to develop leaves – nature he has never seen before. White Pear trees, pink blooming Cherry trees, white and pink Dogwoods, bright red Japanese Maples, red, white purple and yellow tulips, florescent green grass and fresh yellows on the bushes. I can see his eyes accepting these images and his mind attempting to digest these new forms.

I want to give him a life, and to teach him ways to be able to discover the world each day anew.

And so, with this story, Baxter has given me a real gift. He emphasized the importance of my future…and my son’s future. And in doing so, drew me even closer to him.

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