I will be signing my story "Finding the Lord" which is included in Christmas is a Season!2009 at Little Professor Books & Cafe, Homewood, in Birmingham on Saturday, December 19, 2009. Come and bring a buddy!
Here's the introductory bio: KATHLEEN THOMPSON holds a BS from The University of Alabama and an MFA in Fiction/Poetry from Spalding University. A former teacher of high school English, she has an online editing and writing business with her son, Stephen. She also conducts writing workshops as a “Road Scholar” for the Alabama Humanities Foundation. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published in various literary magazines. Searching for Ambergris was her first published chapbook of poetry. She now has two new books at once: The Nights, The Days won the 2008 Negative Capability Press Chapbook Series Award; and her full-length poetry collection from Coosa River Books is The Shortest Distance. Both books arrived in January within three days of each other.
“Finding The Lord,” is another of the linked stories I’m drafting. Clyde, I’ve discovered, is a character rife with story. The title is not meant to imply irreverence or humor, although the characters may embody those traits. On the contrary, the story is undergirded by the theological issue of free will which is often pondered by scholars. Do we have free will? Just how free is our free will? Paul Zahl (Grace in Practice) suggests that addiction, as well as depression, worry, and mourning, can strip us of our free will. My story explores an ancillary question: how can coincidence, or a single happenstance, shape/change a life?
The big SURPRISE: Editor Linda Busby Parker says this about nominating my story for the Pushcart Prize:
Kathleen Thompson’s short story, “Finding the Lord,” is a rich character study. Clyde is reminiscent of Ignatius J. Reilly in John Kennedy Toole A Confederacy of Dunces. Something is not quite right with Ignatius and something is not quite right with Clyde—the exact nature of each man’s mental/emotional problem(s) is not quite clear, but something is amiss. Both Toole and Thompson allow the reader to assess the situation and make their own judgment calls. In Thompson’s story there is the wonderful (almost miraculous) intervention of Preacherman. Is Preacherman real? Does Preacherman represent each of us? Are we our brother’s keepers—or in this case Clyde’s keeper? What responsibility do we have for those who are struggling as Clyde struggles? Thompson’s story asks all these questions—but with whispers rather than shouts.