Elliott I. Committed Suicide and Had a Sister Dorothy . . .

I am currently in the “letting it rest” stage of a 114,000-word novel, Telling Sonny. Even though it went through several major revisions before I reached the end, I can’t deny the wisdom of allowing some time to pass and reading it in its entirety one more time. I expect I’ll be reporting another round of revisions before all is said and done!

The impetus for Telling Sonny came from a scribbled note from my mother after my father died in 2000: “Elliott I. committed suicide and had a sister Dorothy.” (My father was Elliott Francis; his father was Elliott Irving.) I found it such an odd juxtaposition of facts that I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I wrote a poem, “My Father’s Side of the Family,” using that sentence as the first two lines, but it kept rattling around in my head until I finally decided I had to go in search of Elliott I. myself.

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