About the Author
Easiest way to do this is to head over to my About page. Alternately…
Joseph Carrabis told stories to anyone who would listen starting in childhood, wrote his first stories in grade school and started getting paid for his writing in 1978. He’s been everything from a long-haul trucker to a Chief Research Scientist and holds patents covering mathematics, anthropology, neuroscience, and linguistics. After patenting a technology which he created in his basement and creating an international company, he retired from corporate life and now he spends his time writing fiction based on his experiences. His work appears regularly in several anthologies and his own published novels. You can learn more about him RIGHT HERE! (exciting, isn’t it?) and find much of his work at http://nlb.pub/amazon.
How the story came about?
Marianne originally was Mitre and dealt with how grown children deal with a senile parent. It was set at an oceanfront home and many of the plot points in Mitre made it through to Marianne, except Mitre presented a dim view of people professing Christianity in order to avoid unpleasant responsibilities, and Mitre – a devout Catholic and immigrant – is senile throughout the story.
The original Mitre draft – written sometime in the early 1970s. I was a live-in groundsman/driver/bodyguard for a wealthy family who lived in a mansion on the ocean – never worked for me although I appreciated the idea behind it and most of the plot points, so into a drawer it went (we didn’t have computers back then). I rewrote it twice in 1988 (at which point it made it into a computer), twice again in 1998, then again in 2013, 2015, 2017, twice in 2018 and ’19, and remained unsatisfied although I knew each rewrite got closer to the core story. I rewrote it four times in 2020 which is when Mitre became Marianne and I realized what wasn’t working for me. It took me four more rewrites to get the characters’ voices, the fantasy concept, the myth induction, and associated elements to work to my satisfaction.
Here are some specifics:
- What worked
- the low character count. Good short stories are rarely Cecile B. DeMille productions.
- The family dynamic.
- The relationship between Mitre/Marianne and her deceased husband.
- The oceanfront home setting.
- What didn’t work
- Ragging on Christianity/Christians – too easy a target.
- The introduction of a Catholic, immigrant background – not relevant, red herrings, and weakened the story line.
- Poor storycrafting.
- What I liked originally – The resolution.
- Why I couldn’t let the story go – I don’t think I’ve ever let anything go. I have close to 16G of stories, novels, plot lines, characters, settings, et cetera, on my hard disk waiting to be finished Specific to Mitre/Marianne, I couldn’t let go of the victimization and abuse of the elderly idea (even though it came to me. long before it was a recognized cultural concern).
Marianne looked up as Rose threw some paperwork down on her table. “What are plane tickets doing on your MasterCard bill, Mother?”
Marianne turned her wheelchair and glanced at the bill. “How many guesses do I get?”
“What exactly is the problem? I paid with my own money, used my own phone, tapped the order with my own fingers, arranged for Uber to pick me up and drop me off on both ends of the trip, – “
“Are you going to Oregon to commit suicide?”
“I can’t go to see my sister?”
“Is she going to help you commit suicide?”
“She’s always been such a dear, hasn’t she?”
“You think I’m going to allow you to do this?”
Marianne laughed. “You won’t allow me to do what? How about I won’t allow you and that Captain Holes-in-his-Pockets husband of yours four thousand a month rent for this – ” She looked around her. ” – room.”
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