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Monday, November 29, 2021

Home (Brian Katcher)

 

So many authors draw from their childhood experiences for their books. How many times have writers talked about growing up in poverty in Northern Ireland, South Sudan, or East LA? How many authors draw from their experiences mining coal ever day after kindergarten or sweeping out the parlor in their mother's brothel? 

Well, I grew up in St. Peters, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. My parents were both teachers. Pure, white middle class. They sent me to college, and in the big scope of things, I never wanted for anything.

This makes for a good life, but for lousy writing. When I get together with other writers, after we've dismissed our valets and groupies, talk turns to our youths. Soon the air is foggy with stories of abusive fathers, psychotic mothers, and weird, isolated Massachusetts fishing villages that don't like visitors. And when it's my turn, I have to totally make up stories about how my father labored for years at a nuclear power plant and still had to bring home a dog from the racing track as our Christmas present.

 

Not that I haven't had some exciting experiences growing up. That time I found that old man with slime all over his hands and soon we were having a standoff at the town theater? Or when I found that golden ticket and got to go on a tour of a reclusive billionaires cheese factory? And who could forget all the times my brother and I drove our Dodge Charger all over Hazzard County with the sheriff on our tail?

Sadly, none of that makes for good literature. And when it comes to exciting childhood experiences, I'm just going to have to rely on my imagination.

Except for that time my friends and I found One-Eye Willy's treasure map...


3 comments:

  1. Imagination, waay better as man's best friend than some mangy mutt.

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    Replies
    1. Yes! Sometimes, imagination grows from the quietest places...

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  2. Fodder for stories comes from life experience, but life experience doesn't always mean tragedy. Sometimes it comes from middle class homes with so called normal parents who raise their kid to be an outstanding student of the written word...who happens to tell great stories:-)

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