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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Thursday, October 11, 2007


In yesterday's post I offered one of my lifewriting vignettes of my earliest formative memories. The memory of climbing the cliff is no doubt part of my conscious memories now because of its enduring power in telling me who I am and what my life is about--it's part of my personal mythology.

Today I'll offer another one. Again, I would have been about five years old. This one I labeled "Jesus":

I'm playing with some kids who live down the road. They live just above the bend where the dock is. Their house is white with green edges. We're playing in the garage which is inside the house (our garage is by itself). The older sister is a little older than me. She seems to know a lot. She's telling me about a man who's in a book she's holding. His name is Jesus.

"They killed him," she says.

"Who did?" I say, worried.

"They hammered nails right through his hands," she says, narrowing her eyes.

I feel my face start to crumple with horror. I can see long steel nails.

"They hammered nails through his feet."

I cringe in the torment of pain. How could someone hammer a nail right into someone else?

"They stuck thorns in his head."

"In his head?"


I'm baffled and horrified by the cruelty. I had no idea.

"Right in his head?"


I feel a swoon of pity and shock. I have to go home.

There you have it: my introduction to religion.

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