Voices of Littlefield: Whether By Design, or By Accident

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This is experimental prose in that I am juxtaposing the narration of two characters, in this case Bill Dinklpfuss and his mother Virgie. I present these sequences in this way to mimic the insight of the narrator Adam’s mind creating the characters of Virgie and Bill, and conceiving their relationship.

I recall Hawthorne in the attic of an old government building after being given a political appointment, and he discovers a trunk of old registers and journals. From this trunk of treasures he conceives House of Seven Gables. Anyway, in my Littlefield, Adam finds the trunks in an old car. Hawthorne describes himself as wearing out the floor in the attic, walking back and forth and conceiving his story. Adam perhaps is sitting at a desk in front of his window, or at a kitchen table, with the three suitcases of journals and notes he has found. As he scans the notes, his brain picks up sequences here and there and makes associations, sculpting his characters and how they will interact.

These vignettes are an addendum to the novel The Confessor of Littlefield. The vignettes form a compendium titled Voices of Littlefield. The vignettes, or narrative sequences are an unpacking of the prose poetry I wrote as I was conceiving the novel. I try to retain as much of the lyricism as I can, while expanding the meaning and presentation of the content in order to make them available to the reader as they were to me while I was conceiving the project. At the same time, I am trying to present a complete composition. This voice, or post, is Whether By Design or by Accident. It is a journal entry by Bill.


Virgie accepts that she is middle aged. Her reflection, which she had disavowed for the past three years has again reclaimed its place. It belongs to her. It is the only thing she ever loved.

“The Deaconess told me that whatever you give to shape your skin, it rubs off on you for a long, long time. Your way begins a winding path with cherry leaves and dandelion stems, and long snakes in the grass. She was always telling me about sin. But I already knew those things, long before I grew too old to think about them.

“You are more concerned with what clothes look good on you.”

“Good enough for mortal affection” I replied. My body does not hurt enough yet for me to be weary of it. And it is spectacular, whether by design, or by accident.”

“It doesn’t matter how a person views these things. What matters most is how they view their existence with one another,” the Deaconess replied.

“Exactly,” I said. The Deaconess just shook her head. She meant that she did not tolerate anyone without the same beliefs that she had. So did I.

Virgie was taking her undergarments from a drawer and packed them into her suitcase for her weekend stay in Chicago. I was 14 years old. I had told her that I get lonely when she leaves. She told me to cure my eyes by flushing my stones, and then she laughed. She was always saying stupid things; things that had meaning for her and not for me. The sum of all her words to me was, “you gotta grow up.”

For thirty years since, whenever I have rationalized some broken trust or another, I have always come to the same conclusion, that I have made yet another person not so fond of me after some familiarity, whether by design, or by accident.

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