Fact and Fiction

Fact and Fiction

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My non-fiction is primarily drawn from childhood memories of Yulan, New York, a hamlet in Sullivan County, during the late 1950a€™s and early 60a€™s. They are anchored in a clarity dictated by subjects illustrating and implying specific points. I consider writing an important and responsible act, part skill, part art, but always an enjoyable activity as seen through the lens of time and memory. In reading fiction, I have always been most interested in character-driven, as opposed to, plot-driven stories. Consequently, my written fictive efforts generally reflect this preference. My characters are drawn both from my experience as well as from my imagination. Their conflicts, characteristics, as well as, the way they speak, act and see themselves, stem from experience and imagination as well. These characters are generally hybrids of more than one person, either female or male, often functioning in their everyday environments. Some are soldiers, lawyers, police officers, teachers, photographers, painters . . . functioning within varied settings from urban to rural often reflecting a blue-collar nuance and culture. The plots of my stories function to support the stories that the characters tell: the natural friction between daughters, mothers, fathers, sons, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives generally complicated by changes in their livesa€”sometimes major, other times minora€”that cause them to confront those around them as well as themselves. From philandering spouses, to selfish, incompetent or overindulgent parents, or individuals who discover that their lives must change. These plots, linear as well as cyclical, reflect the human drama of strength, weakness, doubt, certainty, moral choices and consequences, love, hate, fear, hope, anxiety, despair and happiness. She stepped over the puddles and around the mud along the driveway to the mailbox by the rutted road out front. Efforts like thisa€”along with things like thunder and lightning storms, which terrified her, as well as woodchucks and raccoons prowling around all-night, which kept her on edgea€”reminded her that she was not a country person. Still, for the last few weeks, the culmination of months of study, their place in Manhattan hadna€™t worked. She had needed the tranquility of this remote house, in the Catskills, where she had spent her summer tomboy childhood. Franca walked slowly back to the house and retraced her footprints as she flipped through the handful of mail. One return address, New York State, Certification and Licensing Unit, caught her attention, and she tore it open with her finger: From Black Still Water She climbs the three steps in front of the local high school and remembers sitting on the wide stone slabsa€”coffee in one hand, a cigarette in the othera€”waiting for her little girl to finish her dancing class on countless Saturday mornings, but the memory quickly disintegrates when she opens the large steel door, and it clangs shut after her. The escaping music is deafening; vibrations pound against her chest, and in the sudden, overpowering darkness, she finds it hard to breathe. Slowly her eyes adjust, and she makes out the dancing figures through the white smoke generated from behind the jungle of gigantic speakers and amplifiers, off in the distance. She hugs the wall, inches her way along searching and her breathing slowly returns to normal. From: Dancer Standing by the sink, looking out over the lake, Jaime listens to the sounds floating up from the basement, work noises: the hammer striking nails homea€”one, two three . . . four, occasionally punctuated by the high-pitched whine of the power saw and the slap of discarded wood as it falls to the tile floor. All day, he works, non-stop, framing it out, refusing lunch a couple of hours ago, and now it is almost three in the afternoon. Tonight, after working a four-to-twelve at the uti... next toa veteranstranger, maybe even downatthe local jiffy lube when age andinclination nolonger tempts some old soldier from changing the oilhimself and wrenches, gaskets head roomand manual dexterity are notwhat they used to be.

Title:Fact and Fiction
Author: Dennis J. Carroll
Publisher:Xlibris Corporation - 2011-11-14

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