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December 16, 2018

1

#Short stories The Pull of the Moon

by N@ncy

 

Introduction:

  1. The slow reader is like a swimmer who stops
  2. counting the number of pool laps they have done
  3. … just enjoys how their body feels and moves in water.
  4. For the first time I approached
  5. ….a collection of short stories
  6. as a slow reader.
  7. I read each and every word Julie Paul wrote.
  8. Not every story is a home-run
  9. ….but she hit a few out of the ballpark!

 

Short stories:

  • I read the collection from
  • beginning to end as Ms. Paul arranged them.

 

  • I could not detect a flow in the arrangement of the stories.
  • They did not build on each other.
  • There were 2 stories that felt just pointless (9,12)
  • with paper thins characters.

 

  • Three stories had potential ….but endings were ambiguous
  • …and left this reader wanting. (8,10,11)

 

  • The BEST stories were Black Forest, Crossing Over and Flip
  • …all good feeling endings….love conquers all! (1, 3, 6)

 

  • Setting: 6 of the 12 stories mentioned NO location specifics
  • …which made the stories colorless.
  • It does not take up much space in the story
  • …to at least mention the name of a town or state!

 

Characters:

  1. Children:  Jenny – Simon – Sammy – Beany – Angela – Lulu
  2. Marriage:
  3. Vicki/Larry – Jim/Fran – Mr./Mrs Poole
  4. – Bob/Dee Hudson – David/Erica – nameless wife/Michel
  5. — Sue/Fraser — Jess/Dylan
  6. Couples:  Warren/Lacy  — Claudia/Rodger — Billy/Allan — Mario/Sheri
  7. Brother and sister:  Warren/Gwen  – Stravos/Alexa
  8. Sisters: Tirsh/Donna
  9. Brothers – Owen/Jasper
  10. Teenagers: Jenny – Juna
  11. Neighbor: Carl — Mia — nameless woman (5th story)

 

Themes:

  1. Looking at this character list you can see the
  2. …most common theme was
  3. marriage, family loyalty vs denial dynamics.

 

  1. Many fathers feared they were not a good enough parent.
  2. The most common themes were
  3. doubts about parenting,
  4. marriage, separation, custody battle, family secrets,
  5. accepting no medical intervention for a sick husband and
  6. …a husband dealing with post traumatic syndrome disorder (PTSD)
  7. ..and Diana (49 yr) tries  to make a home-made baby with a turkey baster!

 

  1. Couples/relationship dynamics swirled about tropical vacations:
  2. 4 young people’s dream trip went haywire.
  3. Claudia and Rodger took a chance on the flip of a coin
  4. …and found love in Cuba!

 

  1. One couple broke up…. Lacy/Warren 
  2. …Lacy felt The Pull of the Moon and booked
  3. …a one-way ticket with the Lunar Pilgrim shuttle!

 

  1. Gwen: What do you do when all you have in the world
  2. …is a brother and a cat named Fluffy?
  3. She felt “…as lonely as a lighthouse.”

 

1. Black Forest

 

  1. crisis: Mother abandons family
  2. struggle: Lawrence must be father-mother for his daughter.
  3. discovery: Jenny is growing up and father feels  separation anxiety
  4. transformation: Jenny who needs guidance…
  5. is the ‘adult’…and  ends up guiding her parents!

 

...it is really about the cake!

 

2.  Damage

  1. crisis: PTSD
  2. struggle: recover from trauma
  3. discovery:  trauma can be a source of growth
  4. transformation: Jim feels a greater appreciation for life,
  5. ….a greater sense of personal strength.
  6. He pushes himself to ‘meddle’ with the neighbor’s problem.

 

3.  Crossing Over

  1. crisis: Should a cat have a grave?
  2. struggle: brother (balanced, reasonable) vs sister (emotional, lonely)
  3. discovery: grief is real be it for a cat or a wife….
  4. transformation: Roy realizes that grief is simply a part of life.
  5. There is no need to suppress or deny the pain.

 

4. Pilgrim

  1. crisis: the rise of New Age spirituality in a skeptical world.
  2. Lacy wants to follow course Angel Reading cards (…talk to guardian angel)
  3. struggle:  Lacy is a believer: “That stuff got me so amped up!
  4. discovery: If the moon controls the tides, affects crops, etc.,
  5. …it seems logical that it has some sway over us too.
  6. transformation: Lacy books a one-way-ticket to the moon!

 

5. Adios

  1. crisis: Mr. Poole (neighbor) suddenly dies
  2. struggle: narrator feels guilty
  3. ….she did not prevent Mr. Poole from wandering off.
  4. discovery: narrator is burdened with regrets and seeks redemption
  5. transformation:  Mrs. Poole calls narrator a gift from God.
  6. Ironically.…narrator does not feel she is the answer to a prayer.

 

6. Flip

  1. crisis:  Single librarian lives alone with her cat.
  2. struggle:  Roger (co-worker ) asks her to go to Cuba with him!
  3. …What should she do?
  4. “…a vacation with Rodger? “
  5. …they only know each other in the coffee sense,
  6. ….she likes lattes with extra sugar and he like Africanos…!”
  7. discovery: Claudia discovers that it is sensible to want
  8. …more than what keeps the flesh alive and mobile.
  9. transformation: Love blossoms
  10. ….Claudia she is brought back to life… a little resurrection.

7. Tropical Dream

  1. crisis:  couples have problems….flirting with each other.
  2. struggle: Fraser flirts with Billy – Billy….flirts with his wife Sue!
  3. discovery: boys find girls locked in a passionate embrace
  4. transformation: Sue is confused….feels the ache of unfinished business

 

8. The King is Dead

  1. crisis: Trish feels as an outsider from the secret family club
  2. struggle: tension b/t Trish and family….what is wrong? what is the secret?
  3. discovery: before Trish was born
  4. ….her  brother Patrick drowned (father was drunk could no save him).
  5. transformation: Trish internalizes her grief and anger
  6. If she explodes she will never see her nephew again
  7. ….her ‘stand-in-little-brother’.

 

9. Viable

  1. crisis: Juna’s mother (49 yr)  asks Stravos (17 yr)
  2. …to donate sperm so she can have a baby
  3. struggle:  Stravos weighs the pros and cons.
  4. discovery:  ???
  5. transformation:  ???
  6. Conclusion: pointless!

 

10. Weeping Camperdown  (tree)

  1. crisis: man divorced, woman married feel themselves falling in love.
  2. struggle: Andrew does not want his daughter to know he is looking for love.
  3. discovery: After a few incidents
  4. ….Andrew suspects this woman is stalking him!
  5. transformation:  “Something in her voice made Andrew’s hair prickle”
  6. Conclusion: story had great potential but the ending just fizzled out.
  7. Last sentence:  “He began to count”.
  8. Me: Count what?

 

11. Her Full Name Was Beatrice

  1. crisis: custody battle Erica  vs and David for their child Beany
  2. struggle: David is awarded custody  of Beany. (Beatrice)
  3. discovery: Erica cannot accept this decision
  4. transformation: Narrator (nameless)  is guilt-ridden
  5. ….what signs did she miss….could she have helped Erica?

 

12 Squirrel People

  1. crisis: Jess cannot bear to live near neighbors Mario/Sheri  from upstairs
  2. …they keep feeding the squirrels It drives Jess crazy!
  3. struggle: Dylan bring home puppy for Lulu (daughter). Jess is livid!
  4. discovery:  role reversal
  5. transformation: Dylan has become just like Mario
  6. ….just wants to make people happy
  7. Jess his wife turns  into Sheri
  8. raging when no raging was necessary.
  9. Conclusion:  pointless story

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