Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chuck Parker is a type of Huck Finn. He's a [C]huck. A descendant. He is not motherless but he has problems with his daddy. Chuck also has to travel. He has to escape. The title is not completely ironic because any kid who gets to light out for the territories and spend the night alone in the woods is living a pretty merry life. Especially if he has a warm bed to return to. Like the eponymous hero of Bud, not Buddy, I wanted to send a kid across Michigan. I had more than one reason for choosing Lowell as his destination. He needed to go down to get to his roots and dig up his granddad. 

This traveling aspect of Chuck appealed to me from the beginning. He was always going to have a trip. I decided that before I began writing anything. And it was going to be a trip to find an ancestor. For me this is like finding an ancestor in Huck Finn. Or Twain. I need to feel connected to trailblazers. I'm too much of a coward to strike out into total terra incognita. I have long struggled with feelings of being an intellectual orphan, an artistic illegitimate child. Who am I to attempt not even The Great American Novel but even a great American novel? Who am I? Why I'm some latter day Huck Finn. I'm Chuck Parker. And I'm a survivor. 

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