Have posted a new story. A Question of Grace. This is my first foray into the issue of Foy’s divorce and family life.
I gave Foy three daughters. Clearly this is modeled after my own life. My idea was to take myself, pretty much as I imagine myself, and put myself into a different world. A skewed version of my own reality. Of course, it’s impossible to write about yourself. All you can do is write your frail image of yourself into a character. But once a story or two is done, your character takes off on his own.
Foy’s oldest daughter was in the very first Foy story. I don’t remember the name of it. It’s at the Foy site. Anyway that first story was a retelling of a real event that happened to my oldest, Reiley, and me. Foy and Hannah work for an evening taking care of babies at a homeless shelter. It’s really not even fiction.
For some reason, I avoided writing about his daughters after that though. Probably because my kids were young and while I felt fine about mining my own life for building blocks out of which to build a series of stories, I didn’t want to use their lives. But honestly, I didn’t think about it. I try NOT to think too much about Foy. I’m wanting to stay as closely tied to my unconscious here as I can. I just didn’t write about his daughters and am guessing at why.
So in this story one of the girls appears. It’s his middle daughter Grace. This conversation is a reproduction of one I had with my own middle daughter, Shelby. (Shelby’s middle name is Grace). I think Shelby would absolutely remember asking the Bible question. My answer in real life was far less sophisticated, but something along those lines. Part of the problem is, she asked that of me 6 years ago. And I’m writing the answers from Foy now, reflecting some of the freedom I feel in my post-pastoring years. But that’s the kind of messiness that comes with Foy and me.
About the divorce. I started a Foy story years ago called “Fifty Love Letters.” that describes Foy’s awakening to his own selfishness. In his depression years he fed himself with solitude and starved Jenny emotionally. He comes to understand this after a retreat where he learned about the Enneagram. He turns his attention to her, rekindles his own feelings, and writes to her in a series of love letters. Unfortunately, as a writer, he was doing this all in his own head. By the time he gives her the letters, it’s too late.
How this connects to my own life as a man in relationship with a woman is something that remains private. Jeanene has a sense of it. But it would be a mistake to make any guesses here. Jeanene and I are doing just fine.
I might finish the 50 love letters story someday. But that’s what is hinted at in this story.