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Saturday 5/21/22

Went through "Swoony and Moony" again. I've worked so hard on this story. I made about a half dozen small changes that no one else would really notice. A word here or there. "Used to" became "formerly" so that a "used" wouldn't repeat. A clause was added on the second page to make it even clearer that the time of the story is the end of the granddaughter's senior year of high school. It may be inferred at other points, but I wanted to make it explicit, but you can make something explicit by putting it within certain folds, so it's not bald and blatant. You don't want bald and blatant. That's artless writing. So, for instance: "I can tell that she thinks about staying, perhaps not making plans with her friends, but she’s a popular high school kid, an end-of-the-year senior no less, and it’s go, go, go, go, regardless of everything else that might subsume her—or conceivably because of it—like she’s the 1959 Chicago White Sox, a joke that, I admit, does make me sound like I’m a million, an age that Esmra once asked if I was, when she was four, and her mother was thirty-two, and I was just about double that." See how it goes in the fold? There's no bald and blatant. Now, that's a ninety-one word sentence. Pure virtuosity. Because it doesn't read like it's ninety-one words. It goes downhill. It ambulates you--it does the work. It's pure flow. There's no more for me to do at this point. I sent the story to some of the regulars--that is, people in my personal life who are more or less on my side of the fence--with the email titled "Swoony and Moony," and the sole accompanying text reading, "As John Lee Hooker said: boom." The story will be in that second volume of works with female main characters, S/He/R/Me: Becoming Story. Because story is something we do become, when we live richly. The title is pronounced She Her Are Me. It's like an equation, with the "r" being the verb "are," an equals sign. An equation is a progression. See how we're all in there? But the emphasis is on the female. It's a play on the pronoun billings we see so often now. She/Her. He/They. But I'm talking something bigger. The swirl of humanness. The great sweep. And one can also handily pronounce it as an acronym. Sherme. The last line of "Swoony and Moony" gets its own paragraph. It's three words long, with a comma separating the first word from the concluding two, the latter of which is pluralized, and as such wrecks the reader. It will absolutely lay you out. You want to give someone an ending that makes them say--gasp--"My God...", put down the story, and feel like they need to take a walk around the block, but they can't get up just quite yet and they have to sit there. Which is exactly what the end of this story does.

“Can I get a raincheck?” she counters, which is something her mother used to tell me—less of an imprecation, and more of a dreadfully necessary incantation—when she felt harried and overwhelmed, and it was my responsibility to understand and both step away and be there, which is the great art that none of us have ever mastered.

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