Thursday, June 19, 2014

TCR Story of the Month for June: "The Fortunate" by C. Dale Young

C. Dale Young
The Committee Room Story of the Month for June is "The Fortunate" by C. Dale Young.

TCR Story of the Month highlights an outstanding work of short fiction published online within the preceding twelve months.

"The Fortunate," an intense, suspenseful story of woman who lives in dread of learning all of a fortune teller's prophecy, was published in Blackbird (Spring 2014).

C. Dale Young practices medicine full-time, edits poetry for New England Review, and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, he is the author of four books of poetry. He recently completed the collection of stories The Affliction, which includes "The Fortunate." He lives in San Francisco.

"Some are good at digging up the past, and some are gifted with the ability to divine the future. Most people live squarely in the present without even the slightest knowledge that all of time coexists, that each era is simply a thin rind circling the current moment. Rosa Blanco was one of those people who lived in the present, but she was always obsessing about the past. In her small kitchen, she would, sometimes for hours, replay a moment in the past ten, maybe fifteen, times. Each time, she checked and rechecked what she had said, how she had said it, what she had done. But the old woman who lived a few doors away was a different type of woman. She lived in the present, but she lived for the future..."  

To continue with "The Fortunate" click here

TCR Talks to Author C. Dale Young

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: As a kid, I wrote stories and poems, but I never really imagined then that writing would become an essential part of my life. In many ways, I didn't really remember writing as a child until when I began publishing as an adult and my parents reminded me of this. I began writing "seriously" as an undergraduate in my junior year of college. I applied to medical schools and MFA Programs in my senior year, partly because I feared I wouldn't be accepted to medical school. I was fortunate to be accepted to graduate programs in both medicine and creative writing. I decided at the end of my senior year of college that I wanted to continue writing and that I wanted to become better at it. I enrolled in the MFA Program to study poetry at the University of Florida. Coincidentally, I stayed there for medical school. Even during my time in graduate school for poetry, I would write stories. They were never any good. But then, a little over six years ago, I went to give a poetry reading at Oregon State University. During a panel, several people commented on the fact they thought I could be a good story writer. On the way home, I wrote the first sentence of what would become my first published story. I only recently finished the entire collection of linked stories from which "The Fortunate" comes. So, I have been writing now for almost twenty-five years, but I have only been seriously writing fiction for a little over six years.

Q: Where did you get the idea for "The Fortunate?"
A: As I mentioned, "The Fortunate" is part of a larger collection of linked stories. By the time I wrote it, I already knew several of the characters. But one character I didn't know well was Rosa Blanco. I knew her husband (the first story I wrote was about him leaving his wife)...I knew her sons from having written a story about them....I knew Flora Diaz tangentially from a story about her sister...I sit down with an idea about a character, but the resulting story is almost never just about that, sometimes not at all.

Q: Who are some of your favorite classic authors?
A: I have an unnatural love for the novels of Dostoyevsky. I read his Crime and Punishment every three years. I also love Chekhov's stories, his clinical eye. And I have always loved the way Joyce handles memory in Dubliners. I don't think I have encountered a Flannery O'Connor story I didn't like. Likewise for Eudora Welty.

Q: Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors?
A: The novels of Garcia Marquez are important to me, as are the many stories by Alice Munro. I care deeply for both the novels and short stories by Charles Baxter. And I have a deep respect for Padgett Powell's stories. I am always surprised by Mavis Gallant's stories. A recent discovery and infatuation I have are with Peter Cameron's novels. Junot Diaz's stories blow me away. As do Manuel Muñoz's stories. I have loved deeply all three of the novels by Christopher Castellani. From early childhood, I have always loved losing myself in books. There is just so much amazing work out there.

The Committee Room. Time Spent with TCR is Never Wasted.


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