Sunday, October 09, 2011


I just spent Sunday morning with a manuscript by rob mclennan. I know him mostly through his very excellent blog but, wow, this dude writes glorious, magnificent stuff! At least he does so in his The Uncertainty Principle: stories,. Here are some excerpts:


He sits in the lawn chair, half-awake. The borrowed cottage, and the near-lake, just down the footpath. His second wife calls from the landing, something about their little boy, his second child. His first with this woman, this dream. Turning, he notices the boy has removed all of his clothing, diaper and all, again, and is tearing around the yard, screaming laughter, chasing at birds and the kittens. His mother encourages it, something he tries to temper, but quietly. He already knows that he worries too much, over so little. This is the future. This is a good dream.


For the whole of his life, there had been rumours. Some said he had been adopted, from foster care, and others suggested he belonged to but one of his parents. It was first through his twelve year old sister, bursting out, to his eight year old silence, stunned. They had been fighting about something, and she took it too far. Her outburst caused their mother to give her such a slap it rendered all six children mute, for three days. It was hard being the youngest. There were things that had happened before he arrived that were impossible to know for sure. And when, in his fifties, his long-widowed mother slid headlong into dementia and mistook him for his late father, he recoiled. It shook him, deep, to his core, but he began to suspect. He wasn't entirely sure of what. He suspected, too, that this mistake of her mind might be the closest he'd come to a kind of pure truth, or an answer.


Absence a weight that can easily overwhelm. Perseus knew this, but went ahead anyway, and we all know how that worked. It's the difference between knowing that most of the world is covered with igneous rock, as opposed to classic. There are the signs that divide us. I am talking about the shifting ground. There are rules, she told me. There are rules and you must follow them. I am interested in the way blame affects thought, or speech. The body staggers outside. Do you remember what it was like when you still believed? In a television interview, Salman Rushdie talks about his new novel, and about how the ancient world is so much more brutal than anything we could imagine. For all this talk of twentieth century carnage, I see no heads on pikes in the courtyard. All of this time, people have been working to revel in what makes us all different, instead of being somewhat afraid of what makes us the same.

Thank you, rob! This is great stuff!