This week, we welcomed Hannah Covington, a reporter for the Star Tribune, to our writing class. She sat in, with the possibility of writing an article about Night Writers and Gabriel’s Horn, publisher to many of the Night Writers, as well as others. Welcome, Hannah, we enjoyed meeting you!
Lisa read from chapter two of The Observer, in which Theophil sends a letter to his ‘fiance back home,’ telling her he has built up a wonderful farm over the last two or three years since he left, and he’s ready for her to join him so they can embark on their lives together.
He waits months for a response, sweeping the house each day, changing and cleaning the sheets, anticipating a letter, or maybe even that she’ll surprise him and turn up on his doorstep.
Shadow, the silent child, the observer of the title, describes in her recollections his devastation at the answer he receives–as well as the outpouring of love and care for him from his neighbors, as he copes–or doesn’t cope as the case may be–with the news he receives.
We discussed what grief is over the top, or what is believable, normal, or understandable, given the many facets of a situation.
We talked about some of Shadow’s feelings, as a child, for this adult man, and how her home life has left her as a friend to this man.
One thing we really appreciated about this scene was Shadow’s commentary on helping others–when we help others, we invariably help ourselves, too.