The first of mine that comes to mind is ‘The Turf Club’. I had heard the story of my father drinking at a local pub since I was a girl But I wasn’t present at the event, so I had to rely on my imagination to structure it.
I wrote it at Borgo San Fedele in Italy, under the tutelage of the great Kaylie Jones. Each morning before we workshopped – fiction or non-fiction – she took us through a meditation. I’d come a long way to write about my father – his drinking and his humanity – and on this particular morning I found a way to begin. The story is available in Jewels of San Fedele, by San Fedele Press.
My writing group, Elwood Writers, helped me prepare the story for a soiree we were holding in Melbourne. One member explained that I had a problem with point of view (POV). Somehow the narrator (me) had to make the shift from showing her brother’s friend inside the bottle shop, back to my father who had returned to the bar. I puzzled over how to make this work.
The night before the soiree I got the answer. The narration showed the friend, an under-age Richard, looking back into the bar for one last glance at ‘Mr. McCaffrey’ before leaving the bottle shop. The shift seemed to work and I relaxed.
I like my story about my father for many reasons, but the breakthrough I made in better transitioning between scenes, two rooms in the pub, and the two main characters made all my puzzling over it worthwhile.