Literally Reruns – Friday by Jane Dougherty

Leila has gone back to the very early days with this choice and it is one of the editor’s favourites and we still talk about it sometimes – late at night over the whisky and that. This is what Leila said:

Ms. Dougherty’s Friday lies deep in the background radiation caused by the Literally Stories’ Big Bang into existence. Yet, like a distant star that can be plucked down only the Hubble Space Telescope or Richard III, it still casts a considerable shine when brought back into view.

“There are some lives that don’t begin in earnest until they are almost over,” had been leading a procession of similarly well written sentences regarding a lonely butcher named Francois for nearly five years until I glimpsed its unique shine in the ever starry sky. Still, unlike a star whose light still goes on long after it has collapsed, a distant story remains as it has always been. And although five years is hardly a serious test of time, Friday seems built well enough to endure the long haul.

I usually resist asking questions of a person whose first reaction to me will most likely be “Who the [insert your own expletive] is this bozo?” It’s been a long while since LS has heard from Ms. Dougherty, and the odds that she will report this missive as Spam may be higher than winning a reply. Still, here goes.

Q: After five years, is there anything about this story you’d change?

Q: How many drafts and/or revisions went into the creation of this piece?

Leila Allinson

***

Jane’s response

The thing about this story is that it’s a true one. The first draft, the skeleton was the bare facts and getting over the rather voyeuristic sensation of writing about my next-door neighbour. I didn’t even change his name, or Vendredi’s. The writing was adding bits of M. François and speculations about his thoughts (he never invited me inside his head) that were true and probably close to the mark.
Like painting a portrait, it wasn’t a question of rinse and repeat but adding details touch by touch. I wanted to keep only the elements that showed him on that particular day when Vendredi came into his life. M. François was a character, kind-hearted for a butcher, and it would have been easy to get distracted by other examples of his generosity, like how he used to throw food out from his window to Edward the fighting cock who lived in the no-man’s land out the back. Or how he rescued a newborn, still blind kitten from the drain where she’d been dumped, called her Cosette after the character in Les Misérables and later, held up Cosette’s own newborn kittens at the window, pleased as Punch, for us to admire. He kept them too.
François might be dead now. He was rehoused at the other end of the département when our little dump was gentrified, and he only came in to town to see us a couple of times. I remember him with affection, I’m not surprised Vendredi decided to follow him home.

 

***

Friday

7 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Friday by Jane Dougherty

  1. Hi Jane,
    I enjoyed reading your answer. It makes me think that most of the most interesting characters can’t be made up, they have to be experienced.
    It’s the observation and putting them across on paper that is the skill.

    Leila,
    Excellent choice as usual and a very in-depth question that instigates such a superb answer.

    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re right, Hugh. We can’t ‘make up’ people. We can take a real person and put them into a different story, but they have to be real, otherwise the story falls flat through lack of credibility.

    This post didn’t go to spam, but the loss of internet, telephone and running mains water made it go out of my head. Such is life in the countryside.

    Like

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