Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Secret Agent #33

TITLE: Fayettenam
GENRE: Literary Fiction

I’d always thought that if God decided to ever speak to me, it’d be like in The Ten Commandments, just like how God spoke to Charlton Heston. It wasn’t. Lately, I’m starting to think it wasn’t God at all. If anything, it sounds a lot like my dad.

I was fourteen when I first heard that voice. It was back in ’64 at the SMU game. Kenny Hatfield returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown against the Ponies; Dad grabbed my arms and forced me to join into the cult of Hog nation. It was the first time I ever felt embarrassed as the first “Wooo” in the first “Sooie” echoed throughout the stadium. For some reason, I couldn’t join in. Maybe I was trying to be a rebel but my dad saw it as insubordination. He nudged me the same way he would nudge me in church when my eyes would close and my head would lean all the way back on the pew. I had failed at being a fan in his eyes. I was his son, born and raised in Fayetteville, and I had refused to “Call those Hogs.” In his eyes, I committed treason.

Now, a good five years later, I wish I were that fourteen year old. I had it good. I’ll call those hogs if it keeps me from going to Vietnam. Nixon wants to eliminate the “agony of suspense,” when it comes to the draft. Personally, I’ve enjoyed not having my life uprooted like a tree.


  1. I would keep reading. this is well-written. We learn a great deal about the narrator in the opening paragraphs--where he grew up, how he felt about his dad, how his emotional compass worked, and what he was confronting as the story opens. Well done. I did have a problem with the third sentence in the second paragraph. I had to read it twice and even then I had difficulty with it. Is it saying it was the first time but not the last? Maybe beginning the sentence with.."as the first "Woo"..." and ending the sentence with "I felt embarrassed for the first time, but not the last".. might help to untangle the meaning. Otherwise I had no problem with the writing.

  2. I like this. The writing is great, and I get a sense of the MC and a hint at what he's about to go through.

  3. I like this so far. The struggle for a son to win his father's approval is played out nicely here.

    Great opening line, too. Although the second paragraph confused me a bit as to how it relates to the second paragraph. He talks about God speaking to him, or possibly it's his father speaking (I assume he's hearing a voice in his head?), yet he's actually with his dad when he's fourteen, not hearing a voice.

  4. I have a hard time with stories that begin in the present, then immediately jump into back story. Don't want an explanation, not yet. I want the current action to continue.

  5. You have a nice opening paragraph and that propelled me forward. Unfortunately, what didn't hook me was your second. God's supposed to sound to the MC like his father, but the dad doesn't even say anything in this flashback. Unless it's "Sooie"?

  6. Great premise. I like the idea of reflecting back on problems we thought were big, before we really knew what problems are...
    In the third paragraph, I was confused which tense we were in, e.g. "I had it good" vs. "I'll call those hogs," I kept wanting to read it as, "I'd call those hogs."
    I would read on because I'm already picturing the relationship and how it might grow and change, and I want to see how it plays out.

  7. The draft lottery was a huge moment in many people's lives. On a second reading I thought the first line was in a fight (or POW camp) in Vietnam. That is where God is speaking to the MC? And then the author jumps to backstory. Maybe not the best idea, but in the next few pages I think all will come clear. I would read on.

  8. I'm afraid this opening didn't draw me in. I would expect more emotion in someone's reaction to being drafted. Maybe start with the moment he actually found out he'd been drafted and save the back story for a little later in the story.