The most impactful thing that stuck out to me in this section of Bret Lott’s writing was in the description of he and his family wheeling his dad down the hallway in the hospital to take him for a walk.
“Do not here think me some kind of good guy for taking the wheelchair and pushing my dad down to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. Do not look at me in this moment as the thoughtful son doing the right thing in relieving the nurse or keeping my mom from the work of pushing that chair,” Lott writes, “Instead, look at my father, and my mother, and my wife…”
Lott successfully urges the readers eyes off of himself as the central theme of his writing. Instead, he enables us to look through his eyes and become emerged in his surroundings. This can be a difficult thing to do, even for Lott himself. He describes how his views on the job of the author used to be much different when he was younger and just starting grad school.
He used to think that writing was about the author and how well the writer could put words on a page to form a story. However, after reading some of Raymond Carver’s work, he realized that isn’t the case at all. Rather, the writer is simply an intruder in the story. Rather, stories are about the characters in them.
This has prompted me to believe that the more diminished the author is in a story, even a a story that is about something the author experiences, the better.