Featured Story - March 2008:
Grand Mama's Boy (excerpt)

 
I want to tell her that, once in a hospital, I had to help a nurse move my grandmother. Her paper gown slipped a little and I saw her upper body, sagging breasts and all. All I could think of was that I cannot let her fall, I cannot let her fall. Sleeping in the same bed with her doesn't faze me. How's that for understanding what I'm talking about?

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About the Story

This is probably one of the most autobiographical fiction I've ever written, even though very little happened the way it did in the story. It's a topic very close to my heart, and I think the story, written last year (2007) marked or presaged how I began to change the way I saw my own grandmother vis-a-vis other family members. I wanted to tell the story in limited space, without too much backstory or over-explaining - because ultimately, the narrator doesn't want to be understood. His relationship with his family is like this fragile house of cards that hinges on him hiding his feelings. (The cold is a physical manifestation of this cover-up.) So I thought the best way to do it was to use a first-person POV and the present tense throughout, just pushing him through one day. To make the story work in this limited space, I thought I also needed to heighten the narrator's ambivalence towards his family, while giving the minor characters very broad brush strokes. (After all, there are eight characters in this short story.) So there are things only hinted at, but they're all crucial to the narrator's relationships to almost every other character in it. And that's what I like about this story - the fact that I'm telling a story without saying too much about it. I've written rather long and complicated short stories among my earlier work, and I think it's a good development that I can write a story that keeps moving forward without sacrificing depth (I hope).

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