— From EF—

It’s Father’s Day. I think I’m supposed to give CB some manly gift, like a chain saw, but I have something softer in mind.

I had a father. Somewhere. Somebody caught Mary Fuller’s eye, and I got here. Since I never knew either one of them, I can’t identify what in me is hers, what is his. With our own kids, it’s a great mélange: lines of cheekbones and slant of eyes and artistic obsessions and dark broodings, and the genetic heritage is vivid. It isn’t hard to see each of us in each of them.

But mothering and fathering are processes, not raw materials. In celebrating Father’s Day, I think of all my stored images of CB being a father, and I think, oh yes. I even became jealous for a time, wanting some of that for myself — when something hurt, he’d say, “Oh, that must hurt,” and hold the talk about avoiding the problem until later.

The dad with whom I grew up? He was my “safe” parent, and when he was home I wasn’t likely to be hurt. He was generous giving me access to non-girly things: how to use a drill press and a table saw, how to paddle a canoe and bait a hook, how to aim a .22, and most of all, freedom to roam our land alone. But he belonged heart and soul to his wife, and in a crunch I was on my own.

I met CB’s father when he suddenly emerged from oblivion and made a journey to meet his adult son. I knew he hadn’t wanted any children, and that he had been violent, alcoholic, and abusive, but I could also see the ghost of the charmer who had grinned and danced his way into Margaret’s heart. CB wasn’t fathered, but under the circumstances, that was probably a good thing.

Here’s something that warms my heart. At Eli’s wedding to Meg, the prep work was extensive, and Eli asked CB if he could be more or less a stage manager for the physical setups. I love that he asked. The process was a real thing, a giving, a creating, a gift. That’s what a father does.

— From CB —

This has been a fulsome week, though nonlinear as always.

Work has gone forward on our King Lear: staging worked out through Act 2, eye sockets drilled in the puppet heads, and close to rough memorization through Act 4.

Additional bookings have come in for our eastern tour, and some chances to visit old friends.

Enjoyable calls from our kids.

A final message from another old friend in the last stages of hospice.

Our Shakespeare reading group spending a pleasant evening with Titus Andronicus and quite a bit of wine consumed between acts.

Our monthly moon circle, nine unique creatures from diverse paths, calling on the universe for the opening of gates, for the roller coaster coming to rest, and to hear our gratitude for a healed shoulder.

Finishing another draft of the first three chapters of our new novel, and sending another story to a magazine that sent us a very complimentary rejection letter.

Meeting our small biweekly writers’ circle, listening and responding to one another’s work around a table in a law office with volumes of California code staring balefully down upon these pretenders.

Reading the news, the news, the news, the news, the news, the news.

The daily routine, the meals, the weedings, the embraces, dishwashings, bill-payings, the fires in the fireplace and in our hearts.

— From the Fool —

That old scribbler Shakespeare wrote this better, but I’ve got my gripes too. So here goes, the Fool speaking to the Big Shot:

I am a Fool.

Does a Fool not have eyes? Not to mention ears to hear the neighbor’s goddamn barking dog and a nose that smells more than it really wants to?

Does a Fool not have hands and a bladder and kinda flabby waistline and wants to hug one person and kick another one in the butt?

We eat the cornflakes and catch the flu and dodge the traffic and take two aspirin and check the weather, just like the profs and the pundits do.

If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you feed us grease and salt and plastic food, do we not upchuck on your poodle?

And if you try to be a bigger fool than me, will I not revenge? I’m a Fool to make a living — what’s your excuse?

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© Bishop & Fuller 2014

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