What you are

S

everal thoughts passed through my mind when I turned 81 on October 19. One was what Morris Massey said in the 1970s. “What you are is where you were when.” Massey implies that that a person’s basic personality is set before the age of ten. Was mine?

My novel, An Odyssey of Illusions, about Levi Robert Reising and the four years that set his personality and possible future is pure fiction, pure truth, and a combination of both. Was the truth of those years my true formative years or did they start after I was ten?

At ten, I was the oldest of seven kids, and not ready to assume the role of ‘man of the house’. My father’s life during our early years is a matter of record – yes, he had one, and rather lengthy. That was before I was ten. So, are Massey’s words still true? Although some of his activities and emotions parallel mine, I am not Levi and Levi is not me.

The two and a half years we spent in Van Hook, ND, Oatville in the book, was where I first started to realize that children and adults, in the same circumstances reacted and behaved differently. One reviewer said, “I find An Odyssey of Illusions to be a powerful read… What a reminder of the minds and thoughts and understandings of the 6 to 10-year-old… Life can be so riddled with half-truths, not even close to the truth, exactly truths and mysteries of adults…”


My related thought is – should I republish the novel? My only concern is that it has some social issues of the times that might be disturbing to readers not ready to accept history as history. Levi’s approach to the issues is as seen from his view, not the adults around him. And, An Odyssey of Illusions doesn’t have unjustifiable violence, vile language, or sexual content.
Several readers said my ending made a sequel necessary. One said, “It was not a “feel good” story, but a story of real life, for so many people of that era, and even today for that matter. Seeing the world through the eyes and mind of young boy, trying to make sense of his world that is often turned upside down by constant change and the selfish /harmful decisions of his father, is thought provoking. The ending begs a sequel…


While my current novella is in the review stage of a publisher, I think I know what I should do.