I Had a Father: A Post-Modern Autobiography

I Had a Father: A Post-Modern Autobiography

I Had a Father: A Post-Modern Autobiography

I Had a Father: A Post-Modern Autobiography

Excerpt

I had an ethnic father, but not an ethnic childhood. In recent years, however, I've grown increasingly fascinated with a life not quite my own that might have been mine si j'avais choisi le chemin de mon père. That is, if I had followed my father's course as a French-Canadian (born Léo Roméo Blais in 1905, in Lac-Mégantic, Québec) or as a Franco‐ American (died Lee R. Blaise in 1978, in Manchester, New Hampshire). The fascination with my father, which is really an exploration of my own sense of incompleteness, found some expression in two recent story collections (Resident Alien and Man and His World), but they were fictions pushing forward to resolution instead of backward to the mystery of origins. The years are whizzing by now like kilometers instead of miles, and my imagination and memory are running together, as though watching myself and my prior selves being born.

Early in this century planetary mathematicians noted a slight perturbation in the orbit of the planet Neptune. That bump pointed to the existence of a dark planet beyond Neptune whose size and position could be confidently plotted. Astronomers knew where to look—that is, the geography was predictable—and what they were looking for. Only the magnifying and light-gathering tools were miss-

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