All Stories, General Fiction, Writing

Literally Reruns – Toffee Head Tom by Hugh Cron

Leila has been down into the depths of LS towers again and rooted out a story by Editor and author Hugh Cron – I love it when that happens. This is what she said.

Two things usually happen whenever a writer attempts a change of pace. They either fail as miserably as a Stephen King “poem” or they do something so brilliantly different that you wonder why they don’t do it more often. That by no means is to suggest that this week’s selection, Hugh Cron’s Toffee-Head Tom, is better than his equally brilliant unflinching, unrelenting stories–Oh no! But for an author who excels at spare, pungent dialogue to get most of his work across, this…oh, for lack of a better word…diversion into the descriptive fantastic underscores the depth of this artist.

 

Q: The visuals are startling. The piece screams in primary colors (sorry, colours). For me it has a psychedelic Yellow Submarine feeling. Did you actively think the images up, or did they just come to you?

Q: Yet there seems to be something harder lying beneath it all. “No one went to Tom’s funeral. It rained and all the goldfish cried.” That final sentence combines flippancy, the random nothing of it all and yet sorrow expressed from an unlikely source. How much thought did you put into the close?

Leila Allison

Hugh’s responses:

Thank you so much for this Re-Run Leila, it has made me smile revisiting Tom.
And I always have great fun answering your questions!!

Q: The visuals are startling. The piece screams in primary colors (sorry, colours). For me it has a psychedelic Yellow Submarine feeling. Did you actively think the images up, or did they just come to you?

A. The first image that I thought of came from one of those stupid drunken conversations that are deep and meaningful the more pished you get. So it was more alcohol inspired than LSD!

We used to have a fish tank years ago and one night we were talking about how we hoped that we were looking after the fish correctly when the conversation developed to how we would know if they were sad. Tears were considered but we weren’t that drunk not to conclude that death would be an indication.

I hate to admit it but most of the other traits all have a strong element of truth in them. These were idiosyncrasies of people I have known and once I started on one, all the weird ones came flooding back to me. (Thankfully, unlike Tom, they weren’t all from the same person!) 

Q: Yet there seems to be something harder lying beneath it all. “No one went to Tom’s funeral. It rained and all the goldfish cried.” That final sentence combines flippancy, the random nothing of it all and yet sorrow expressed from an unlikely source. How much thought did you put into the close?

A. Hah! I don’t think I ever think too much!

All the way through this I’d been thinking of the rhyme ‘Solomon Grundy’ I wanted to have that sort of completion in the whole story and the ending was the same. With the last paragraph, I wanted it to be punchy. It was a happy coincidence that I realised that the last paragraph consisted of seven sentences, just like Solomon’s life of seven days.

The last line took me back to my very first image of the fish that was the inspiration for the whole story.

But you are right about a feeling of sorrow. When I looked at it, the whole thing was about, not so much loneliness but someone accepting the way they were. He didn’t have a choice, him being him made him that way. If he had a choice, that would be a very different story.

***

Toffee Head Tom 

3 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Toffee Head Tom by Hugh Cron”

    1. You’re welcome Leila.
      Tom was great to revisit.
      I did write a follow up regarding his parents but it didn’t make it. The marshmallows were happy!
      Hugh

      Like

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