Bewildering Stories

Challenge 76 response

by John Thiel

John sends a thoughtful and serious response to Challenge 76:

The challenge for this issue should be, "are there things or experiences in life to which these stories (or even articles) relate? And can you discuss these experiential similitudes in a brief essay?"

Especially so of Don's story, which was, by the way, a good, tight piece of near-professional quality fiction.

John Thiel

How do the stories or articles relate to real life? John, I like that Challenge: it’s real. Maybe it’s a tall order, but that makes it all the more worth thinking about. And that can give us ideas: maybe for further stories, maybe for... who knows?

And thank you very much for the compliment! “Don’t Get Noticed” could have been listed as drama, because it’s actually a one-act play. I visualized it as taking place in real life, but you can easily imagine watching it acted out on a stage. I was also writing under a very fast-approaching deadline: we needed another “Christmas” story for issue 76, and I’d been thinking about this one for about three days. It all fell into place in a couple of two-hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday. It didn’t seem like I was writing at all; I was practically taking dictation.

Retrospective Challenge:

  1. One of the characters is a late-comer and not in the original “script.” This character just barged in and sat down at the table, so to speak. Can you guess which one it is?
  2. What parallels can you find between the story in Bethany — the one in the “projection” — and the one in the classroom? I based the story on Mark, but for one parallel, the version of the story in John 12 is a complete giveaway.
  3. “Don’t Get Noticed” is a story within a story. But which story is inside which? That’s a philosophical question, perhaps more the kind you have in mind.

Please send us your ideas!

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