Five Points, Vol. 3 No. 3Spring / Summer 1999
From Frederick Busch, “I think a story tends to take a moment out of time and preserve it. It’s the moment at which either the reader and/or the characters or a character sees a truth about themselves, or feels a truthful feeling about the character.”
Into the Silence
From time to time I’ve read or heard a strange notion: many writers come from the south, because Southerners have a tradition of telling stories. I did not grow up in the true south. I grew up in southern Louisiana, in a place of Cajuns and Creoles and Catholics. In the neighborhood where I spent most of my boyhood, only a few girls and boys were Protestants. Most of us came home on Ash Wednesday with dark grey crosses on our foreheads. From the third through the twelfth grades I learned from Christian Brothers at Cathedral School in Lafayette. The first class of the day was religion, and the Brothers told stories: from the Old and New Testaments and the lives of the saints, and they also told stories to dramatize and show morality. And through the rest of the day, in other classes, they told us stories, in their worthy attempt to teach us about the earth and its people, the living and the dead. They were not Southerners. Two were from France; and Pancho Villa had sent one out of Mexico, in a freight train carrying nuns and Christian Brothers and priests. He told us that story, too.