COLLECTIVE NARRATIVES Master

Category

  • Hint Fiction: Highway Memorial Dedication

    Update 5, leaner version:

    Highway Memorial Dedication

    Shifting feet in the Texas summer sun, right at the spot on the side of the highway that I'd heard about only a few times, I welled up when the officer told Adam, "...The three things your father was most proud of were being a State Trooper, being an Aggie and being your dad."


    Update 4, after asking permission to post:

    Holy hell, man. Thank you. I think it's great. It's dense and real and something we can continue to peel layers from for years to come. And, it's sort of news me both in terms of the impact it had on you...and the words that were actually said. I have several visual memories from the day, but the words that were said were a bit of a blur.

    Layer to Peel #1: It's also a bit of blur because those fucking "they built a monument with my dead father's name on it" ceremonies had gotten a little familiar at that point. And, while the emotional impact to me that day was the same, those backslapping "your father would be so proud" speeches were something I had long since begun to tune out.

    And, nice work on the assignment. It's very "Teju Cole". My only edit would be to address the two antecedents for "he" in the first line. Something like this...

    I welled up when the stranger told Adam, "The three things your father was most proud of were being a State Trooper, being an Aggie and being your dad."

    Layer to Peel #2: That's a fucked up list of "values" to be mainlining into a young boys mind, isn't it? How did I end up where I am and what I'm like? Just think what might have been. I could have been a law & order Aggie with a world view to match. It's all very dancing nancies.

    So, to recap....

    I'm touched. Thank you.
    Job well done.
    Let's peel the layers sometime soon.

    xoxo,
    A



    Update 3, my next version:

    Highway Memorial Dedication

    We decomposed in the Texan summer sun. Right at the spot on the side of the highway that I'd heard about only a few times. Most of the overtures were hackneyed, and yet somehow I welled up when the officer told Adam, "...The three things he was most proud of were being a State Trooper, being an Aggie and being your dad."


    Update 2, Teacher Review:

    So, I really enjoyed reading your story and your process.
    I have to admit it took several reads for me because I was trying to determine what the "I"'s relationship was to both "him" and "Adam"
    Also, I didn't exactly know what an "aggie" was (I mean, we have our "aggie fair" here in adams, MA) so I was left with questions too about his being both a state trooper and an aggie.
    I'm not sure it is fully a story, so much as it is a wonderful description of a moment captured.
    but I would love to see what happened before, that led up to that moment, and the reaction/response to it afterwards developed.
    thank you!
    M


    Update 1, Peer Reviews:

    Peer 1-

    Dear John,

    Not sure if we are supposed to email each other with feedback. but I really liked your hint fiction. I read it a few times, which means I can always find something new in it, something hidden behind those 25 words.

    First,I got past the language barrier. I  googled what Agie means, which according to wikipedia it's short for a  name or family name. Is there any other hidden meaning? I also googled welled up, because, english being my second language, I hadn't heard that idiom used  before. 

    So I got past the language semantics and got into the language play, and then there was so much to find.

    The first person narrator  witnesses a very personal moment between  father and son. 

    The citation of the main character tells so much about who he is and fills the story with emotion. Not in a cheesy way but more with a nostalgic voice.

    It makes me think that he is old, fond of his profession and family. Those three words give him a very strong character, state trooper, agie, and father. 

    The narrator is definitively involved because, he or she has feelings for this father and for Adam. He or she is  a husband or wife, a very close friend perhaps,or Adam's mother? He or she refers to him as Adam, by his first name, which denotes familiarity.

    And I wonder how does Adam feel about it?

    Also, the narrator is talking in past tense, did the father die? The phrase was such an end of life reflection, and the swell up feels it with such deep emotion that it seems like that father was in the last chapter of his life.

    Anyway I could go on, which means you were very succesful. I think it's a really good hint sentence, it makes me wonder and develop the story further and further.

    See you in class !

    Peer 2-

    Hey Jon,

    I had the chance to read your hint fiction, and I really liked it. In just one sentence, you were able to communicate a lot about the man in the story, like what he does for a living, where he went to school, (I assumed you meant Aggie as Texas A&M Uni alumni), and that he has children he can be proud of; this would mean that he has children that are not in their teens anymore, but rather in their twenties. The fact that he is proud of his professional choices and his family suggests that he is a confident and happy man. Adam is his son. But the person who is describing the scene is startled by such a declaration. It wells him up. Maybe he is jealous. Maybe he is also this man's son. Maybe he wants his father to be proud of him too.
    OR maybe I'm just over analyzing.

    In any case, I really liked your work, Jon.

    See you tomorrow.

    Best,

    M.


    ORIGINAL:

    Highway Memorial Dedication

    I welled up when he told Adam, "The three things he was most proud of were being a State Trooper, being an Aggie and being your dad."

    Process-

    I chose the Hint Fiction format because it's a technique I've been trying to explore in my longer form narratives. It's harder to tell longer stories this way, but I've found that I employ this method most with my social media transmissions. My Instagram captions and comments, my Twitter posts, and even over Instant Messenger. It's lyrical and succinct. And it's kind of like rapping. Regret it, nope. Said it, yup.