Cracked Open

You can see I haven’t been the most regular blogger here. But I had a reason for pausing lately. On October 22, 2015, my 22-year-old son was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Seven months later he passed away, after fighting hard and being brave.

I am not the same person and never will be. I have been blogging, but not on WordPress. The latest pieces appear on Medium.com. The blog titles are duplicates or derivative of book titles. These pieces are unlike anything I’ve ever written. I invite you to delve in.

A Series of Unfortunate Accidents – a variation of the Lemony Snicket title. Maybe I should have used the true last word of the title, “Events,” because the odd things in this story certainly were not accidents–they were warnings.

Just Tell Me What You Want – a novel by Jay Presson Allen. I never read Allen’s book but always thought the title was alluring in a Jacqueline Susann way. And the title fits for my piece. I was going to use the term “Grief Vampires,” but my psychic was no user. What she knew still gives me chills.

What to Suspect When You’re Expecting is obviously from the bestseller with Expect as the third word in the title. This is the only funny story on Medium.com at present, and is  about my “Jewish son.”

Life as We Knew is a book on my list for one of the top five young adult novels of all time. But I’m skewed here. Max discovered this novel & it has since become one of my favorites. I was re-reading it when he was very sick, toward the end. Perhaps this title is my new leitmotif.

The Son of Someone Famous is the exact title of a novel by M.E. Kerr, a fav YA novelist of mine. She was more popular some years ago. This is a provocative title befitting today’s clickbait society; Kerr was prophetic. Max was not the son of someone famous; had he lived I would likely be the father of someone famous, though.

Across Two Aprils is a variation of Across Five Aprils, a title by I remember seeing a hundred times in my high school library. I intended for this to be my first-ever piece for Medium and held others I’d written until this was done. I thought the contrast between 2 Saturday mornings 50 years apart was amazing.

Thank you for reading any of my pieces on Medium. Grief cracked me open like a coconut and out poured my most heartfelt writing. That is another great gift Max left me.

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About chuckmall

Fiction and food writer in Chicago. Author of "The Owl Motel: And Other Places Where You Are Not Welcome."
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