The cut was a story that just arrived, with no prior thought to it nor planning, written in just a couple days, more or less. All I can think of, as to where it came from, was that it was during playoffs, my own son was currently playing and ideas, such as what it’s like to be the coach’s son had been on my mind – tied somewhere in there to being forced to do something you don’t like, though, that was not the case on that particular team.
There are moments where a clarity falls. Moments where a simple observation brings a rush of memory, a rush of feelings that were left behind – a reminder of the fears of what laid ahead, a fear of the consequences for the choices made: A moment where everything experienced distills and brings awareness to the present, greater understanding of all that is occurring and un-equivocating knowledge of what is held most dear. Those moments strike disconcert; humility that lay one bare, that fall as hard as a heavy punch to the gut.
I also vaguely recall a listing for an apartment next door to Louisiana Creole, and found the prospect of living at that location amusing – thinking about how odd it would be to walk out at that location, opening a steel door onto that sidewalk – hoping no one was walking past as you did. That’s probably where the first chapter came from, but the story was a whole lot more by the time that was finished. There are a lot of little moments from my history tied to that intersection.
It was intended to be a one-off, short story, but I found the ideas and characters compelling and frequently toyed with how a story, told as it was, could be told moving forward without seeming cloyingly formulaic. That led to Fen Grass, though, that was intended as a segue, meant to be a brief interlude to the chance opportunity fortuitously presented to Marcus. How he and the other character got to that opportunity was where Fen Grass came from, however, it took a left turn as it was being written, being that I disliked the direction. Where the cut considers neglect, the forces that knocked Eddie off track were more vile and violent: Themes and codas were all that connected the stories – two completely different sets of characters and places.
L&M is the third related story, and walks completely away from the formula of the original, even losing the codas that were all that – sort of – tied the first two stories together. Rather than the third book in the series, it’s more of a – long – sequel to Fen Grass; a continuation. There are some echoes to the idea of codas – their idea being what kept the first two books related – but they are subtle, and the little bit of time-warping, magical fantasy are more grounded to realism.
The cut is an epiphany, a character feeling an observation of his behavior far more severely than really necessary, because of his experiences when young – it considers the psychological impact and consequences of parental behavior. It’s an homage to my children who have taught me what it means to be a parent, who have made me such a better person as a consequence.
Fen is something else, that considers the responsibility to act when there is knowledge of abuse, that considers the reticence to intervene – the incapacity to know how. As with the fallout from one revelation of institutional abuse to the next, Logan sees fault with the response and lays condemnation. Yet, a blind eye turned walks away failing to act, knowing acting often ends up failing. Or, making things worse.
L&M moves on from the Fen, looking to how the characters move on from what they experienced. Marcus is back, if only briefly, sharing what he knows and has experienced, himself, to help propel those introduced in Fen towards a positive future.
The decision was made within a moment, one governed by the limitations of experience and the forces therein – one that changed all of them, yet still one that remained the focus going forward: A moment that was irrelevant. A moment best left forgotten to the past – the past, best left forgotten.
As if it would.
The past stood as the future for the woman that had stood next to Logan since the moment. It was where he went while taking walks in Paradise – reflecting back. It was where amends were needed. It meant the conversation he avoided. It meant facing those he’d left behind:
To be left behind. To understand a moment that could not be understood, to watch a pillar fall that was infallible. To understand – how it could happen: It was not expected. It fell as betrayal, yet feeling it betrayal resounded selfish. To enumerate events and observations to bring clarity to what occurred.
As if it would.
Success stood upon the moment as an outlet Muriel had seized upon to comprehend, to understand exactly what went wrong. It became more complicated, the deeper that it grew, and in the end – was it worth it? The past was always present but it could be that the past was only that: Gone.
Logan and Muriel look to the future while trying to move on from the past and leave it where it stood.
As if it would.
Child abuse is a nationwide health crisis. Most recent data shows that, across the U.S., a staggering 676,000 children are victims – numbers that are increasing.
In Michigan, as we continue efforts toward sustained economic recovery and where strong families are vital, the picture is bleaker. From 2010-2016, the rate of abuse rose 30 percent to nearly 40,000 victims each year, while the number of children actually decreased. This, dramatically higher than the national average, places us 46th in child safety.
More alarming: Michigan ranks 50th (last) where abuse leads to fatalities of infants under the age of 1. We’re moving in the wrong direction.