A great fall continues.
Publishing has the duel distinction of completing the writing process and leaving an author with a sense of orphaned loneliness. For many of us, writing is valuable because it helps us identify and make sense of the human condition in which we unwittingly participate; it is also a means of communication, cautionary tales that humans have shared over time and geography. I’ve always tried to maintain the mantra, despite failings and successes in publishing, that if one person reads one thing I’ve written, I’ve at minimum satisfied literature’s requisites of me, that I’ve given back to the pool of an art form from which I’ve drunk so much.
It may be a defense mechanism, but I sustain the notion that my work is complete with only a solitary reader because I, like most writers, have no other option. It is difficult to presume one’s hard work will ever be read, so, in the scant time during one’s career when it actually is, we must revel in the glee of it, be grateful.
The Saint Katherine Review recently published my short story, “Only Connect…” and it makes me proud to see this story in print. You can find it here.
I developed the idea for this piece and began pre-writing over Thanksgiving last year, as I spent it fireside in a retrofitted AirBNB barn in the Catskills. Donald Trump had (dubiously) just been elected president, and I was in the common stupor shared by many worldwide at how such a place of potential could be reduced to a tragedy of errors. The United States, now a misnomer.
I’m no stranger to writing social criticism and that’s what this story is. But rather than attack the antagonism of the administration, what I attempted to do with “Only Connect…” was to focus on people: how in the face of great national tribulation, in the face of a dying human morality, we can turn to one another for buoy.
Indeed, the story is set fireside in a barn (writers are only so creative, after all). But the story’s title comes from E.M. Forster’s epigraph from Howard’s End, which for me means that no matter what else in the world, our task and greatest victory will be to connect, only connect, with others. In barns, but also, in stories.