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  #11  
Unread 01-12-2022, 09:49 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Steiner View Post
Thanks, Julie. I looked at those quasi advertising signs with my own slant and found that many, even most, of those which had non“round” numbers (such as 83 miles) met unusual criteria I’m slightly familiar with. Auden even has a poem with apartment 83 mentioned. One that is maybe more interesting than the 83 item is the “American Family Field” for 274 miles distance, which as you know, is two times 137 miles (two times |alpha^-1|, by the way). Another is the one with 781 miles to “United Center”. I’d go back to 106 miles. It’s a kind number.

PS. You could just settle for 100 miles .

Last edited by Allen Tice; 01-12-2022 at 09:53 AM.
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  #12  
Unread 01-12-2022, 05:05 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Alpha—or better the non-decimal part of the fraction 1/alpha—is a number that I think about morning, noon, and night on some days. After making such a fuss about it, here’s the Wikipedia article for those interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-structure_constant

Enough on that. It’s not very poetic, neither is pi.
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  #13  
Unread 01-12-2022, 09:36 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Post deleted.

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 01-12-2022 at 09:43 PM.
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  #14  
Unread 01-13-2022, 12:27 PM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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I'll think about it, Julie
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  #15  
Unread 01-26-2022, 07:38 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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John, As I do with most of your short prose pieces, I like the "interlude" feel to this. A segment/moment lifted from a larger scene that allows the reader to make inferences about the a surreally long, claustrophobic car trip written from the perspective of the boy in the back seat.

It hits close to home. I've been in that car, riding in the backseat, witnessing the eruptions between my Mom and Dad that always lead to venomous, demeaning comments and counter comments, erratic driving, even bursts of violence. (My mom once slapped my father in the head while he was driving and knocked his fedora off.)

My only question is logistical. They are driving an indeterminately long distance, having presumably already driven for hours, with 105 more miles to go, and yet still will not have arrived at grandma's house. There will be a layover at the motel. That's a long trip just to spend a few days. I presume the father will turn around and drive back? And then in a few days do it all over again? I wonder if you might leave the time to be spent at the grandma's house open-ended — not "for a few days"? Maybe my arithmetic is off, though... Or maybe the "few days" is code for an indeterminate amount of time.

Your story-telling is done in sentences Hemingway would love. I think the shorter the sentence the more important the words/images. Which means if you fragment the story too much it bogs down. This doesn't bog down, though. It slows down time to be excruciating. The whole experience is excruciating.

To hear your own parents fight; to be fallout from a failed marriage; those things are indelible. Your mother crying is an excruciating, nearly unbearable sound. As Julie says, "my insides filled up with hot water" is a great metaphor for that. The boy is essentially invisible to the parents. That's a powerful image. He is out of his car seat and kneeling on the seat. He's baggage to them. Something like a liability. He is loved, but at the same time made to feel shoved aside while the two up front careen back and forth with vitriol — both in what is said and what is not said. It's painful.

I'm still puzzling over the last line. It feels as if the boy is about to jump out of the car.

Wondering, too, if the title needs a question mark. You might also consider "Tell Me You Got Two" as a title. The gist of the argument is that the husband has been caught cheating on the wife. The Dad's weak retorts only infuriate the Mom.

I can see this short piece a part of a collection of recollections on the subject. I should gather mine, too...

.
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  #16  
Unread 02-02-2022, 08:23 AM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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Thank you, Jim. Your reading is generous and thorough. As to the question of timing and distance, I don't think it's clear at all the father will be returning to pick them up soon. Clearly, there is trouble in the marriage and this may be the last time the boy sees his father for a while. And yes, this is drawn from my deepest past.
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