Last night I watched an HBO documentary on the life of former Texas governor Ann Richards. Then I opened a book of Eudora Welty short stories and read “Why I Live at the P.O.”, which I’ve loved since I first read it at age fifteen or so. This morning I watched another HBO special, Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays.”
Whoa. Nostalgia overload.
Putting these three items together made me realize that we all have more in common than we realize.
I am a Southerner, so, naturally, I related to the Welty story, though I didn’t grow up during the Depression. I enjoyed Crystal’s reminiscences of his upbringing, even though it was culturally dissimilar. As a kid, our Texas relatives always visited at Christmas. Observing Texans has always been a hobby.
To some extent, most of us come from families that are crazy. Craziness comes in many forms. We tend to prefer our own craziness to craziness we see now because, in part, we already survived it. It couldn’t have been so bad, right? I made it through okay.
The writing of my second novel, The Intangibles, was a matter of writing a story that was partly based on real events and partly made up. Informally, it was a process in which I confronted the many events of my life and pondered how they interacted to make me the man I am today. The Sixties exploded around me as a small child. I finally tried to make some sense of it.
I always think of the slogan associated with the Paul Newman movie, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean: “If the story wasn’t true, it should have been.”
That’s a good goal for fiction, and I’m going to write some more of it today. Ann Richards, Eudora Welty and Billy Crystal gave me a little boost.
I hope you’ll be interested enough in these blogs to give my novels, The Intangibles and The Audacity of Dope, a read. You can find more about them at montedutton.com.