Man in the Moon
Essays on Fathers and Fatherhood
Publication Year: 2014
Selected from the country's leading literary journals and publications—Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Creative Nonfiction, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, The Normal School, and others—Man in the Moon brings together essays in which sons, daughters, and fathers explore the elusive nature of this intimate relationship and find unique ways to frame and understand it: through astronomy, arachnology, storytelling, map-reading, television, puzzles, DNA, and so on. In the collection's title essay, Bill Capossere considers the inextricable link between his love of astronomy and memories of his father: "The man in the moon is no stranger to me,” he writes. "I have seen his face before, and it is my father's, and his father's, and my own.” Other essays include Dinty Moore's "Son of Mr. Green Jeans: A Meditation on Missing Fathers,” in which Moore lays out an alphabetic investigation of fathers from popular culture—Ward Cleaver, Jim Anderson, Ozzie Nelson—while ruminating on his own absent father and hesitation to become a father himself. In "Plot Variations,” Robin Black attempts to understand, through the lens of teaching fiction to creative writing students, her inability to attend her father's funeral. Deborah Thompson tries to reconcile her pride in her father's pioneering research in plastics and her concerns about their toxic environmental consequences in "When the Future Was Plastic.” At turns painfully familiar, comic, and heartbreaking, the essays in this collection also deliver moments of searing beauty and hard-earned wisdom.
Published by: Center for Literary Publishing
Title Page, Copyright
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In the early stages of putting this anthology together, I was catching up with a colleague I hadn’t seen in a while, telling him about the book, the essays I already had in mind, what a great collection it would be. He was nodding with interest, and then asked...
Man in the Moon
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In our house there are, at last count, fourteen clocks. Crossing from one room to the next, one level to another, it is almost impossible not to mark time’s steady martial pace. Or it would be if the clocks on the mantle, the bookshelf, the dining room hutch, the...
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I recently found a scorpion on my father’s desk, which I have since stolen. Not a live creature, but a specimen, long pickled in formaldehyde. The handwritten label inside the jar reads: Paruroctonus silvestrii: Las Estacas, Mexico—1971. The scorpion floats...
When the Future was Plastic
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While the environmental activist talks on the radio, I watch an “urban tumbleweed” out the window. It scuttles across the street and attaches to a tree branch, where this synthetic, unnaturally white ghost fl aps and sways. The polymeric chains composing this...
Stories from the Lost Nation
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My father grew up fatherless in nearby Delmar. But his father’s grandfather—who landed in Lost Nation, Iowa, after leaving Kerry in 1847 and who became, according to his esteemed son the judge, “one of the largest landholders and most successful farmers” in the...
When he Falls off a Horse
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In the middle of a night long ago, my sister Cindy called me at my home in Arizona to tell me that our father had been crushed by a horse. She meant what she said: most of his vertebral column had turned to rubble. A lung was punctured; his spleen burst. Then...
Son of Mr. Green Jeans
Dinty W. Moore
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Best known as the father on ABC’s Home Improvement (1991–99), the popular comedian was born Timothy Allen Dick on June 13, 1953. When Allen was eleven years old, his father, Gerald Dick, was killed by a drunk driver while driving home from a University of Colorado...
Memory and Helix
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My father lost his childhood. He lost it in Nevada tumbleweed towns, in Union Pacific rail yards, in Oakland flyspeck boardinghouses, on San Francisco’s Embarcadero and Powell Street and Fisherman’s Wharf. My father lost his childhood because his father, my...
The Lion and the Mouse
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My mother relays me this at my upstairs apartment. She and my father have lived downstairs from us since 1999, but my father no longer comes to visit because he can’t manage the stairs. If we want to see him, we go down there, which doesn’t sound complicated,...
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Two deer emerged out of the thick upper woods of my parents’ farm, a place my father and brother called the Slashing. For two weeks, I had waited for this moment. Since the cold opening morning of deer season—always the Monday after Thanksgiving in...
End of the Line
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I was born in Baltimore on September 11, 1955. I am white, male, and a lapsed Irish Catholic. I love my family, immediate and extended, but keep my feelings too much of a secret. My father is gone. He lived a full life and left behind five children and a dozen grandchildren...
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The way my mother told the tale, the tuna sandwich saved my father’s life. She’d fixed it that morning—albacore and Bonbel cheese on Pepperidge Farm white bread—packed it in a brown bag and placed it in his briefcase. Then she’d driven him to the Catholic...
Thirteen Views of Grief
Donna George Storey
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What he’s just done is wrong and I know it, but I’m seventeen and he’s a doctor, and my mother, who is a nurse and might have embarrassed him into good behavior, is still downstairs filling out the admission papers....
The Wisdom of Sons
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In the spring of 1994, as my father lay dying in the intensive care unit of a small hospital in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, my mother, brother, sister, and I were faced with the sort of decision families dread. My father was in a coma. A week earlier he had suffered...
Plot: Variations I, II, and III
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The plot is large enough for me, my husband, my two brothers, my sister-in-law, and my parents. When I bought it, I stopped at that number, recoiling at the thought of the next generation—my own children, niece, and nephew—ever buried there. Or anywhere. And...
The Case of the Undone Novel
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Sometimes, but not often, he would work on his novel, my now long-dead father. Those evenings, he set up a wooden step stool in the living room of our small suburban ranch house and then placed his battered Underwood atop it, so he could watch his favorite TV...
The Mechanics of Being
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A decade after dropping out of high school I’d managed to arrive, like some survivor of a tragedy at sea, on the shores of a community college. My parents were thrilled when I phoned to say I was pursuing my childhood dream of being an architect. They were just as...
Puzzle and Music Box
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My father called to say a gift was on its way. It was for my three-year- old daughter, but I’d be interested in it too. More than interested. This gift, he said, would “blow your mind.” It would “knock your socks off.” My father loves my daughter past bounds, loves...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2014