I Am The Lord, Thy God
Writing fiction is fun. It’s heady, too, inasmuch as I, the author, get to play god.
[And, to be quite frank, I think I do a better job at being god than god, whom most people refer to as God but I refuse to.]
I’ve been god for a while now, creating a fictional world inhabited by the Dudek family on the Northwest Side of the city of Chicago in the the late 1960s and early ’70s. My serial e-novel, “Black Comedy,” is a mix of made-up stories framed within actual historical events. Some characters are real, Mayor Richard J. Daley, for instance, and Abbie Hoffman. Others are thinly veiled stand-ins for real people — Cook County State’s Attorney Eddie Halloran comes to mind.
The tale is also a way for me to make sense of a lot of terribly confusing events and relationships I experienced or witnessed and read about those four decades ago. I was just entering my teens back then. The world and my city, for all intents and purposes, were going crazy. My family was, too, and I delve into that bedlam as well.
All in all, writing “Black Comedy” is cheaper and more satisfying than weekly or even twice-weekly sessions with a shrink. Believe me, I’ve gone that route and, yes, progress was made, breakthroughs occurred, and tears — many, many tears — shed. But whatever mistaken perceptions I’ve carried in my heart all these years and then commit to electrons on an LCD screen are by no means as potentially catastrophic as those boners committed by skull jockeys. For instance, I went to one shrink some 20 years ago who, within a scant few minutes of meeting me, said, “Oh, you were sexually abused as a child, no doubt about it.”
Eek. For the next few years I viewed my parents and older sibs through narrowed eyes until I finally came to the conclusion that I didn’t remember ever being sexually abused.
So, if I’m wrong about Eddie Halloran being a brawling drunkard, no one’s any the worse for wear because Eddie Halloran never existed except in my mind. But, trust me, Eddie Halloran was a brawling drunkard.
Anyway, I came upon a neat quote from New York Times book reviewer Bill Scheft, who was parsing Davy Rothbart’s My Heart Is an Idiot last fall. Scheft’s line can be used to describe what I do in “Black Comedy” quite nicely, thank you.
He wrote of Rothbart’s genre, which some are having a hard time distinguishing between fiction and non-fiction:
It should be called something else, other than non-fiction. “Re-enactmention,” perhaps. Wherein a predominantly true story is made more complicated in the service of art.
Yep, that’s “Black Comedy,” except for the part about it being predominantly true. BC is predominantly false, a conceit, a fairy tale. But it’s all true as far as I’m concerned. Pretty much like all our memories.
It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Lunatic Fringe
Maybe I, along with the rest of us, should just ignore the mentally ill.
No, I don’t mean those poor souls who roam our streets homeless and muttering to themselves. Which is what we’re doing already anyway. Ignoring them, that is, unless they get too pushy in asking us for spare change and then, all of a sudden, we pound our fists and demand something be done.
I’m talking about right wing talk radio hosts.
I know, I know, it’s like complaining that toddlers refuse to use the toilet facilities and shower and dress themselves everyday, the selfish little imps. I mean, whaddya expect from those who lack the mental capacity to do anything other than what they do?
Still, I ask you, how can I ignore this [via Wonkette] about some survivors of the Washington state bridge collapse last week:
Where this thing dropped seemed to me not to be very far, I mean easy to get over to the banks where you can get onto dry land. Some of them waited in their cars for an hour for help to arrive…. What has happened in our entire evolution of the past 30 years that we’ve gone from guys who were standing on the street jumping into ice water to save a woman and here we have people who are 25 feet from shore, if they weren’t injured, couldn’t make that swim or ten people couldn’t create a human chain. Or it took an hour to get some kind of boat.
The host, a man named Tony Katz who is syndicated on the All Patriots Media Network, had been spewing chunks about how pussified the American male is these days because people whose cars fell into the the Skagit River when the Interstate 5 bridge collapsed, did the sissy-girl thing and — ugh! — waited for help to arrive.
Honestly, is that where the right wing fringe is now?
You know, like JFK should have just picked up the pieces of his skull and brain and held them in place on his head while he walked to Parkland Hospital instead of just dying, the liberal queer.
Walk It Off, You Girl
Natch, those who found themselves plopped into a chilly river must be the gonad-less progeny of the Barack-ification of this holy land.
I wonder, reader, can you find the iron will within to ignore these deep thinkers? I don’t know if I can.