Allison Cummings describes the layers of inspiration and a bit of the technique that brought about her poem “Route #6.”
Chris Dungey included notes on his story “Brass”
Hector Fritch [the main character of Brass] is probably what you’d call my alter ego; or even fictional doppelganger. In my writing career, which includes 60 published stories and another 15 hunting, I’ve probably come up with 4-5 tales drawn totally from my imagination; pulled out of my ass, if you will. The rest are all based on things that have happened to me or to friends and acquaintances. I merely twist the facts and names around a bit, exaggerate or minimize aspects of the actual events, and voila! Or, as Kelly Bundy would say: “Viola!” It’s the Beatles “Paperback Writer” school of fiction: “I change it ’round, ’til you like the style. I’ll be writing more in a week or two.”
As for Hector’s demeanor in “Brass,” two major themes should emerge. First, he would hate, ever, to have his soon-to-be ex-wife dislike him or worse, report ill of him to others. He insists on being a nice guy and cooperative participant in the litigation. He has everything to gain; the house, shared custody of the child, and perhaps even the occasional thrash in the sheets. They’ve always been good together in that way. More importantly, Hector has come to enjoy being laid-off. Reading, writing, Letterman late, sleeping in; leisurely days as lord of his modest manor. This condition should go on for as long as there are benefits to be exploited. If he has to do a bit of scrounging until GM calls him back, he will do it at his own pace and under his own direction. Washing dishes at Titus Family Restaurant will be a very last resort.