Sunday, December 28, 2008

Imagining the town and the Argus as my father thought of them

None of the new characters in Chapter 5 of Farewell Bend had real life counterparts. But my memories and others that my father shared with me when we talked about what happened in our small Western town inspired the action in this account.

To read the chapter at the blog, double click the title of this posting when looking at the actual RememberingtheArgus blog.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Only the weed patch is gone

The setting for the duck hunting adventures in Chapter 4 remains much the same except for the undeveloped plot of land that’s described as the author’s hunting ground. The last time the author visited the site that area had been turned into row crop land. But the large pipe carrying irrigation water across the Malheur River at this spot remains in used. It’s up to the reader to decide how much of this day’s adventure actually happened. Much of it, as I recall. But then we’re dealing with an old man’s memories here.
--- To go to the chapter at Farewell Bend the Novel double click on the headline to this item.

Monday, December 15, 2008

At the time I thought it was blasphemy

The words that open this chapter, which sounded so startling to the author when he was 17 and riding on the bus to what he viewed as the ultimate Ontario-Vale game, now seem a bit common. I’m more familiar what might come from the mouth of a teenager whose angry that he’s not getting any playing time in football, soccer, basketball or baseball --- the sport the grandkids play. I hear the gossip about their teams. I know the way kids think from the perspective of a lifetime of getting used to the human condition. But in the fall of 1955 when I heard them from another player, not especially a close friend, they shocked me enough that I have never forgotten them. From the time my classmates and I attended junior high in Ontario we planned and plotted how we were going to win our football games against Vale. This chapter does not exaggerate the significance of that game to the town folks. And those kinds of high school football rivalries continue to this day in many small towns. For Ontario kids, the town that goes by the fictional name of Farewell Bend in the novel, the Vale game now means less. It’s not even a conference game. Actually that was changed not long after my class graduated.

At a more personal level, this chapter begins to develop the relationship between the narrator and his best friend, who is based on number of good friends from that time. But the thing I always tell readers when they ask about Peter Sanger is that he is more another side of me than any one friend from those years. The events the two characters get involved with may or may not have happened in real life, but the dialogue between the two is mostly a meditation with myself.

To read Chapter 3 go to the blog Farewell Bend the Novel using the link at the right.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More truth than fiction in latest installment

Chapter Two, which introduces both the family and the newspaper,contains a lot more truth than fiction. The dialogue and up front action is fictional, of course,but much of it is based on events I remember but couldn’t duplicate more than fifty years later. The Farley Hotel, as anyone who read the prologue knows, was a very real place. The story of the arrests there is based on a true account of such a raid, though it occurred in that early 50's time frame but a different year than the fall of 1954. The family relationships, as most readers would guess, are pretty close to those tensions in the family in which the author was raised.

To link to Chapter 2 click on the headline to this blog item or follow the link at the right to Farewell Bend the novel.