What a Man Looks Like

Does this look like the sort of man who needs some other man’s name printed on his undies to make him feel better about himself ?

Yes, that’s a little knife he’s holding. Yes, that’s pieces of kangaroo he’s been cutting up with it.
Yes, that’s his axe you see behind him, and yes, in his late 70s he’s still cutting all his own firewood plus enough for a neighbouring family.
(No, my American friends, the u in neighbouring is not a spelling mistake, and neither are most of what you might think of as my spelling mistakes, it’s the correct spelling in English, as used in pretty much every English speaking country in the world except yours, but that’s a subject for another day)
The life of the old guy in the photo is the basis for much of the best and truest and most meaningful fiction I will write. But I really want to do justice to it, so I decided to write two other novels first, hoping to learn how it’s done.
But… I’d really like the old guy in the photo to read some of that future work, and given the nature of ageing, and also the mad bugger’s propensity for high risk behaviours, I sometimes wonder if I should maybe write some of the stuff based on him first. Waddayareckon ?


6 thoughts on “What a Man Looks Like

  1. I wish my grandmother had read some of my stuff but at the end of her life, she just couldn’t concentrate that long. Not even for a short story. If I showed her something, she’d beam and gush and rave and almost convince me that she had been able to follow it through. She was always a master of manners–it was a thing she did reflexively, until the end, but there was once an incredible, acute intelligence there, a thing that faded later on. I wish I grew up earlier (delayed maturation here, all my fault) so we could have seen eye-to-eye for just one moment. How delicious it must feel for you to still have the chance.

    • Delayed maturation… there’s a whole book just in that concept. At least, for women, you do grow up. Us blokes really don’t, I think.
      I showed my dad the first 30 pages of my WIP. He loved them, then made me read them aloud to visitors. Tears streamed down his face as he laughed too, and he’s looking forward to it being finished.
      I also showed him 3 pages of another story, the one based on him, which is all I wrote of it. He liked it too, said that was really how things were, but I could see pain in his face too. I realise now, that’s what’s making this choice difficult.
      You all have helped me by answering this, thank you.
      And you’re right, just cos he’s still with it now doesn’t mean he’ll stay that way even if he does live much longer.
      I really should set my arse on fire and write more than I am, whatever I write.
      And seeing eye to eye… thank you for writing that, I realise I have that with him now, and it’s quite a gift.

    • Hahahahaha. Get in line Averil Dean, he still has women chasing him all over the place.
      I reckon you give your dad something every time you write. Of course you do.
      It seems to me, no matter how long it gets, the loss of a parent will never be less. Maybe that’s part of the urge some people have to stop living themselves, before they have to lose so much.
      Maybe I’m going nuts as in manic again, for today I see a whole book in everything anyone says. Then again, maybe it’s because there is a book there, because you wonderful deep feeling writers are telling me truths, and there’s always a book in a truth.
      My dad is like some fucking superhero, people have always been in awe of him, but I got to see his worst as well as his best, and his worst is mine too.
      From him I got Storytelling, and the depth of feeling, the Depths. Highness and Lowness and touches of Madness.
      For my 20th birthday he gave me a pen and pencil. For my 21st a pile of cash and a really good dictionary.
      I owe him stories, all kinds.
      Arse, check.
      Matches, check.
      Clear thinking, hmmm… I’ll just have to do my best.

  2. You’re right, of course.
    I’ll honour him, by telling the truth in the stories. The best and worst of him. No matter how big I tell the stories, he’ll still be bigger anyway.
    My comments seem to be getting longer than my blog posts. Shut up now, Me.

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