Read Part One Here
Tim looked at me like I was crazy when I carted the box of binders inside. He knew how frustrated I was at my lack of time to write, and he was afraid I'd spend too much time wading through someone else's work to do my own. I also think he worried that I'd be too nice if I didn't like the book, even though George had insisted he wanted me to be straight with him. I was worried about that, too.
Sometimes it was a slog going through the double-spaced pages. This was no short memoir, like I had written. It was an epic novel spanning decades, exploring class, family dynamics, American History, and theology. Some of the chapters plopped me right into the scene, leaving me wondering which thread of the story I was reading about. George told me he sometimes liked to keep his readers guessing, but I didn't want to have to guess. Tenses occasionally shifted, making me lose my place.
But each night, when I turned out my light, I thought about JD, the young boy in the novel. I pictured him growing and maturing among the agricultural fields and streams where my suburban town now stands. I wondered if he'd go off to college. If he'd get the girl. If he'd find faith.
It dawned on me.
JD and the other characters had become real to me. And once again, I was awed by how anyone ever writes fiction. How I could hear JD's voice in my head as clearly as someone I knew in real life. How I could practically smell the reek of liquor as his alcoholic father stumbled in and out of his life. How the funny and poignant anecdotes of the townspeople placed me in a community as believable as the one I live in right now.
In my pre-sleep thoughts, it was as if I were watching a movie.
I was no expert on publishing, and certainly not on fiction, but I knew without a doubt I could tell my 94 year old neighbor that I loved his book and wanted to help.
More to come...
Read Part Three Here