About “Red Bird”

LR red bird

On a weekend getaway with an artist friend, I was handed watercolors, a brush and a paper bag with the instruction to paint a red bird. First time since 1st grade I’ve ever tried to paint.

“Redbird”  was my father’s final attempt to complete a short story for publication consideration. He started it sometime shortly after he retired and worked on it for several years, but ended up abandoning the project before he had a final draft.

My adaption of “Redbird” is partly my creation, but it’s entirely drawn from the one full draft copy I found in my father’s files, plus some discovered notes in other files. I have edited liberally, but have made every effort to maintain his voice as much as I am able, and have kept to the story’s original trajectory.

The following are a few notes:

1) Much of the opening story about Red Bird as a character is very close to what my father originally wrote. I gave the character development some more exposition to better highlight the story’s theme.

2) Hiram and Maude are largely as my father created them, however a lot of their story is my construct. This is solely based on a handwritten note by my mother on the draft I found—with which I wholeheartedly agreed—“rework all of Hiram and Maude.” Great characters. They just needed more about them, particularly in regards to their marriage.

3) In his first/final draft, my father gave no indication that Hiram and Maude had children. I thought it odd that an American middle class, every-man/woman couple would not have children. Moreover, I thought Maude needed familial support in her efforts to get Hiram out of his do-nothing retirement rut.

4) In my father’s original story, Maude sends Hiram off to Mexico with plans to join him later. While that made for some interesting trials for Hiram, it didn’t make any sense for the characters. It just didn’t seem as if these two homebodies who rarely if ever live life outside of the daily routine would undertake this sort of huge, new, and completely strange experience separately.

5) My father wanted to include the incredible hacienda he and my mother house-sat those winters in SMdA as part of the overall story, so I kept the vacation home concept, as opposed to setting Hiram and Maude up in a full-service resort.

7) As of March 2014 I’ve only completed the first half of my adaption.

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