Sunday, August 17, 2008
Serial (The Quickies), Part 9
9. When Professor Lawrence Quinby’s third collection of poetry won the prestigious (and lucrative) Biennial Brancart Poetry Prize his department hosted a party to celebrate the honor. Lillian McCue, the department secretary, stitched a needlepoint pillow of the book’s cover, a Francis Bacon-esque triptych by a local artist friend of Larry’s. He hoped, and his wife Gretel also hoped, that their oldest son would see his way to come home for the event. Larry Jr. had left their bucolic Midwestern town and gone to California right after graduating from high school. He had convinced his parents he needed a gap year and so had not even applied to college. Truth is, he had no intention of ever going to college. Neither Larry nor Gretel could imagine desiring any life other than their own, the life of the mind, the life of books, a life filled with poetry, family, and weekly literary dinner parties. Their oldest son, whose ambition had always been to be a film stunt man, was a mystery to them. One day he would be the cause for their names appearing in newspapers all over the country. Larry Jr. could not make the party. His younger bothers were there, toasting their father’s success, along with their respective girlfriends, Melanie and Jen.