clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Swimming Lesson

The picture at left is of Dexter, MA. It's a mill pond taken by Andrew Rabbit.

I wrote a story yesterday that takes place at a pond. I hadn't intended to write it in its full rough draft. I got started with notes and unexpectedly wrote it to completion. I learned a great deal writing this story. I remembered reading August 1914 by Solzhenitsyn when I was done. I borrowed some cinematic lessons I learned from that book back in 1979.

My story involves a drowning and adolescent boys. It is about contemplative murder though and the pending demise of a swimmer is just the consequence of choices and not the result of physical action.

People forget that cruelty is one of the best formed social aptitudes in the young. This revelation is hardly new in literature but I am satisfied that my construction and presentation is sufficiently distinct. I suspect everyone has one of these stories in them. Maybe more.

The Swedish film Let the Right One In has a fabulous dramatization of these very sentiments as a climax , though with a very unexpected outcome.

In my story I avoid directly drowning one of the youths featured, but you know it is going to happen.

I enjoy more and more the tales where the violence takes place off the page - either before or immediately after the story in question. There is a degree of clinical separation from the violence in this fashion which I find appealing. I do not want describe the precise nature of a killing to my readers. I don't think they're earned that relief.

I believe having the event occur in the readers' minds under their own framework will create a more visceral experience.

I've not read enough King to know if he does this. I read a handful of his short stories in junior high.

It was a very sensible junior high. We'd had out first serial killer and rapist whose trial was in the local paper. The school board had real dangers to worry over. Literature and scary stories were not on the reactionary radar.

Of course, In Cold Blood was required reading in eight grade. We took our murders and rapes early in life. Mockingbird in freshmen lit.

No comments: