Take a cut shot from the dour face of Senator Joseph McCarthy and move to an extended shot of a man driving a tractor on a farm in the daylight with fresh air in his lungs. A voiceover is telling viewers various details in an upbeat and genial tone. The contrast is what gives one the feeling of release, release from an oppressive glare, from dark eyes hooded by darker, lush eyebrows, the ten or so strands of hair once seen dangling like a noodle onto his forehead now combed and pressed back with cream you can almost smell from here. The imagination works on what fresh air feels like in the lungs. The moment with the farmer on the tractor, his belly still full of bacon and cathead biscuits, is somehow transformative as heaven. And heaven transcends the demagogue. And heaven will transcend the demagogues.

6 Comments

  1. Sarah Freligh

    Sheldon, oh, that ending and how it lands. Like a prayer, like a benediction. May it be so.

    There’s a great kind of metafiction going on here in the story, how the voiceover enters after the images are presented (or “submitted for your approval,” as Rod Serling used to say) and at some point, the narrator/narrative itself BECOMES the voiceover, suggesting what to see and how. In a piece this short, just remarkable. I was rooting for that voice to maybe present itself even earlier, maybe at around “The contrast. .. . ” that is, present it as a suggestion of a way to see it rather than THE way

  2. Robert Vaughan

    Hey Hoss, welcome to the BG family, buddy. And what a beauty, a gem of a micro. Damn, so much to love about this piece. The POV, the pullback, the incredible voice, the Universality of focusing in the farmer (aren’t we all, in some way/shape/form?). Numerous sensory details in lovely forms. And the spaciousness of that gorgeous ending, repeated in slightly different manner in those brilliant last two lines. I have to say, I wish I’d written this. But then, you are my brother, and I’m so proud to call you so.

  3. Koss Just Koss

    Hi Sheldon. You hit all the right chords in this–some really nice sonic qualities including the near repetition at the end.

  4. Anita Brienza

    Sheldon, I agree with Sarah – the ending felt like an invocation. Such great use of repetition there.

    I loved these two lines so much:
    “the ten or so strands of hair once seen dangling like a noodle onto his forehead now combed and pressed back with cream you can almost smell from here.”
    “his belly still full of bacon and cathead biscuits,”

    Nicely rendered.

  5. Sheldon Lee Compton

    Thank you all so much. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more active during the workshop. Weekends for me can tend to get really busy without notice. I have ailing in-laws and there were some issues. I have read through the pieces on here and I can say for sure this is an absolute miracle of a program you all have going here. Thank you all so much (especially you, Hoss, my brother always).

  6. David O'Connor

    Sheldon, I really like the economy and lyricism. There is much going on here and much to admire. You paint a glorious picture.

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