Dicussions by characters Ricky and Roland in the introductions of Jerry Engler's books
The first excerpt here is from the introduction of Just Folks: Earthy Tales of the Prairie Heartland, where Jerry Engler introduces the idea that he could be crazy, and then turns it over for discussion by Ricky and Roland, two of his favorite characters. The discussion is continued in the introduction of A Heartland Voice: Just Folks Two, and together they are in the nature of a story--an enjoyable experience.
Of course, it could be that I am crazy. It could be these stories are true , and it could be they're just therapy. To find out, I turned to two of my favorite characters, Ricky and Roland, with the question, whispering it in Ricky's ear one night while he was sleeping.
Ricky took the question to Roland, who promptly turned it around a little. Roland said, "Well, Ricky, I hate to interfere with anybody's personal belief system. If you want to believe in Engler, it's your business. Personally, I doubt Engler's existence because I can't believe anybody would create this many charcters unless he fell in love with his own life, and found the people and animals in it really that interesting.
"Of course, if you want to believe in Engler, and we're only characters here having words put in our mouths, it raises the question of whether Engler has a creator too. If he does, I have an insight that one facet of his nature could be creativity, unless of course, you or I write a story too that places us as one more link in the creativity line. Then there's the possibility that
he's playing with us right now, and he's a liar."
Nevertheless, I snuck back in to
Ricky's bedroom the other night while he was sleeping, and whispered him a question. "Where are you from, Ricky?" I know it gave him a significant dream because he was rolling in sweaty pajamas.
Like always, he went to ask Roland about it. Roland replied, "Dreaming about Engler again, are we, Ricky? I'm not sure this is good for you. I mean it's good for you to hold your belief system intact, but Ricky, people are going to start wondering about you if you always go around talking about the reality of this guy."
"Well, Roland, I dreamt he asked me a question. He asked me where I am from, Roland. Where are we from, Roland? Maybe we should know that."
"Why we're from right here. We've been from here our whole lives. Why are you asking something so silly? We're from here."
"But Roland, where is here? What is our plane of existence? Where were we before here? Where do we go when we aren't here?"
"Looky here, Ricky. This here is a Kawtown, and ain't nobody ever lived in a better place than a Kawtown, so why worry about it? I don't care if Oz ain't in Kansas, and the Kaw are in Oklahoma, and Oklahoma's a town in Tennessee, and Tennessee's a ghetto in half a dozen cities, and Ohio ain't in Illinois, and Hermes is camping in Nebraska kissin' Georgia, we come from the heart of the land."
"That's it right there. You said it, Roland. We come from the heart of the land. I like that. I can believe in that."
"Yeah, let that lyin' Engler speak for us from the heart of the land if he wants to do something with himself instead of putting his fool lips up to other people's ears when they're trying to sleep in the middle of the night."
"Yeah, a good creator would have just said we are wht we are, and left it at that, you know, kind of a love affair. Anybody knows the Mississippi is somewhere between Ogden and Scranton, but who cares if it ain't on top of me."
Site: Jerry W. Engler
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|Reviewed by Mary Fallon Fleming
Very interesting concept, whispering ideas into the ears of your fictional characters. Well written, wonderful prose and, as always, great description. Be talkin' to ya when I get back from Istanbul!