“The Utter Proximity of God”
Michael J. DeLuca
Nobody should be allowed to throw stones at glass houses unless they’re prepared to throw stones at their own.
I read this and I notice flaws. Bumps in the prose I wish I’d fixed. Points where the silliness comes off as wooden and contrived. I guess this is how it feels to read your own work in print.
But there’s still stuff that makes me laugh, anyway, and a play of the kinds of ideas that interest me, with hidden ends of various threads leading off out of the story into others. Which is pretty much the best I can expect.
Theodora Goss compares this story to Samuel Beckett; she called it “the anti-Waiting for Godot“. That interpretation is apt, certainly, though modesty forces me to admit it was not what I intended. I only read Godot after she made that comparison, and while now that I have read it, I can entirely conceive of myself composing a story just to assail Godot‘s verbose, absurdist cynicism, when I was in fact writing this story, I’m pretty sure I was thinking more along the lines of Piers Ploughman, classical pastoral, and a particular Calvino story called “Father to Son”, which is about a pair of grumpy asshole farmers who are pretty much mean to everybody and like it. But in tone, at least, Dora Goss is right: I was looking for optimism, for irreverence, a story critical of religion but condemning of despair.