While I’ve taught people all over the world essential survival skills – including how to catch and eat a rat – I also have a penchant for literature, a Cody Lundin penchant. While disemboweling an Elk or building a survival cave out of bat guano, I enjoy letting my mind wander into literature. Titles of my forthcoming books include: How to Catch and Disentangle a Post-Modernist, Writing, Publishing and Promoting your First Novel in 10 Days!! and Call of the Wild: Great Writers on the Toilet.

   I’ve also been busy with this site where I’ve pretended to be 82 different people and objects. Why? Survival. If you want to thrive in the world of letters it’s essential that you understand your competition. Hence, this Fast Fictions blog. 

   Brothers and Sisters, please enjoy today’s fast fiction…

 

From Small to Big

 

     Preternaturally committed to prose, Adam Yoptick composed his first narrative in 1935 at the age of eight. Six sentences succinctly explained everything, a compression that came under the advice of his Grand-da: “Man didn’t evolve in a day. It took hundreds of thousands of years,” and his Grand-da made circles up Adam’s arm to show how many that meant. “It takes time to get anything right. So you make sure that you start off small and then take your time to get bigger and bigger. Start with the tiny observations in your little hands.” Adam’s Grand-da had studied psychology under William James at Harvard in 1892 but after a semester of fist-to-table-banging disagreements over the role of emotions in the aesthetic experience, William Yoptick set off for something new in the wilds of Vancouver, Canada where he opened the second saloon in the burgeoning city. William tried to translate this wealth of experience into terms of clarity for a child. He knew that he didn’t have much longer to live and his son and daughter-in-law were lost causes. William prayed and meditated and even stayed up all night muttering the secrets of his heart and the world into the ear of his sleeping grandson. So when Adam put his first six sentences together into a story about a married woman having an affair with an ice deliveryman, his grandfather was only surprised by the shocking truth at the core of the story. In six sentences, little Adam paralleled the taboo of touching an illicit lover to the painful feel of the ice on bare hands as it was slid into the icebox. Adam’s grandfather died of grief over this affair his daughter-in-law was having but of course this was just a creation of young Adam’s mind. From six sentences Adam moved on to seven and then eight and then nine. Every story took on one more sentence until Adam Yoptick, award winning novelist, essayist and teacher, simultaneously reached the age of 82 and the last line of his last novel (3873 sentences) which was about the life of his Grand-da and the grief and guilt that Adam lived with his entire life, writing from his heart an apology to the man he loved most in life as well as in death.

 

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