Bicentennial Day for America is going to be a long one for Larry. There’s a fifth of Southern Comfort to kill before noon. There’s all the memory other people won’t let the fifth kill off. The woman who’s divorced him three times wants to talk. His older son wants to publish Granddad’s Civil War Journal. Everyone wants to talk war history with a World War II vet. The mayor wants Larry’s crane to lift the statue of a fictional hero into place in time for the fireworks. The only person not bothering him is his younger son shipped home from Nam and resting for five years under a plain flat stone on the edge of town. This day will resonate with history – of one person, of one family, of one nation shaped by war– and all Larry wants is a little peace.
Jack London lamented that he had spent his life as a working class intellectual rubbing shoulders with the underprivileged on tramp steamers, in gold mining camps, on wharves and in warehouses while reading extensively and writing books of serious social and philosophical merit only to be renowned for writing about dogs. It irked him yet inspired me decades later. Eighteen-wheelers, psych wards, factory floors and the halls of academia and corporate America may not be perfect matches to London’s, but they have all been part of my own working class adventures. I have lived in numerous careers the fiction that each was intrinsically important while in fact each was merely research for the role of Carl Stevens, Writer.
Professor-in-training (in three fields so far, philosophy, history and psychology), nurse in a psychiatric facility, long-haul truck driver, security guard, waiter, bartender, clerical worker, manual laborer, engineer - they were all facades I presented while my true life’s work went on behind the scenes, reading and writing and incorporating life experience with the scholarly to create the self-identity that is now creating novels.
It can be said of Waiting for Godot that nothing happens, twice. The phrase "over and over again" is like a brief musical theme that plays throughout The Charging Bull of Terry County. For example, It could be said of Larry and HIldy Treegarden that their love strikes like a lightning bolt over and over again differently every time yet strangely the same because we know it's a disaster every time. Do you know anyone else who falls for red roses over and over again and over and over the next day sees the wilted remains in the waste bin of their life?
The Charging Bull of Terry County
Over and over again the red rose has brought themback together.