This week I read aloud Chapter 3, not too difficult because in this class two pages determine a chapter; however, mine was almost ten. One page was all my own original work, and the rest was mostly Jerry, if Jerry went through a surgery that took an entire Saturday to slice him down to one-fifth his original size. I had to edit him harshly because his original chapter was the one that spent fifty pages explaining in detail how every part of an oil derrick works.
Before I began, she asked me to remind the class who the characters were.
”Well, there’s Silvertop, and Joe, and Maggie — but Maggie does not appear in this chapter.”
“Good! I hate Maggie,” she said.
I said, “Well ... that’s not bad, because she’s the character who changes most by the end of the book.”
Then she asked, “Is Tangle-eye in this chapter?”
”No, this happens in the morning, and Tangle-eye’s on the afternoon shift.”
”I like Tangle-eye,” she said. This is surprising, because Tangle-eye is a deaf, bearded, lazy-eyed Exposition Man. I suppose she likes him because he speaks in dialect.
Therapy corner: When I read aloud the first chapter one student said he liked Joe. Why? Joe is vain and temperamental. He’s very different from Jerry’s version, in which Joe is clearly a sober Jerry. But it’s my book now, so Joe/Jerry is now my villain and Jerry’s villain Silvertop is now my roguish charming step-father Dan. Why? Spite. Because dead men tell no tales and finish no novels.
My chapter reading was received well. The teacher pointed out I had held the attention of five women with a chapter about oil rigs, so that was good.
Sadly, our final two classes have been Covoided. The teacher has generously offered to finish the last two classes via email, which will be fine with me, especially given she probably won’t be paid for them. She says she does it for the love, anyway.