LITERATURE: Glimmer Train #54 – The Deep, Meaningful Ones

The next two stories do have that in common; they are more literary in that one can relate to the more character, human event nature of the storylines.

Although it’s one more "divorced father coping with raising a kid minus a mother" stories, Ray, Like Sunshine by Paul Rawlins does carry the reader through on a likeable dad who’s not as sorry a picture as most in these stories.  The protagonist naturally is still hung up a bit on his ex-wife, takes his son to a ballgame where he meets the mother of another player, and fantasizes a bit about them being together.  Same old, same old.  But there’s no bitter confrontation here that forces a decision.  It’s more reality: realization comes simply that life goes on.  He’s acknowledging that he still wants his ex-wife, and it’s going to take time to get over it.  Nicely written.

In Bluefish, South of Plymouth, R. Clifton Spargo acknowledges the similarity by opening paragraph 2 with: Pete and I were on a suburbanized version of a Kerouac road trip,…  And frankly, I would have liked to have seem some of Spargo’s insight into character and giving them life in Kerouac’s novel.  It’s a very simple story where two young men take a short trip back to the first person narrator’s home town and stay with an elderly man who’s been a friend of the family.  There is a special excitement yet pathos around this character, and there is a gentle understanding that develops around past, present and future and the viewpoints of the young versus the old.  The only thing that was a bit too pat was the mention of the man’s dead wife’s ashes likely being in a coffee can, and the closing scene of him scattering those ashes on the sea as the two young men depart.  A bit forced, it seemed.  And too, the sudden appearance of the running of the blues (bluefish) in a frenzied cannibalistic act as they come just at that moment.  Then too, it could be just imagination and not a reality, put together by the narrator as a more fitting ending to the tale.  Even so, nothing to that point of story led me in that direction (unless I missed the whole point of "being a believer" of the old man’s stories) and my natural sense of "oh, come on" tainted my full enjoyment of this well written short story.

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