My Father Sits In The Dark by Jerome Weidman, 1934
The magic trick:
Limiting the story’s sense of space but expanding the sense of ideas
This story feels more like a poem, maybe a one-act play. Oh, what’s that you say? Jerome Weidman was an award-winning playwright? Well, there you go.
It’s bare bones simple. And this is not a criticism at all. It is remarkable how quickly and seemingly without effort the story gets to the core of the rather gigantic issues of childhood, memory, father-son relationships and immigration. All that with essentially one set, two characters and about 1,600 words. And that’s quite a trick on Weidman’s part.
‘Why don’t you go to bed, Pop?’ ’I will soon, son.’ But he doesn’t. He just sits there and smokes and thinks. It worries me. I can’t understand it. What can he be thinking about? Once I asked him. ’What are you thinking about, Pa?’ ’Nothing,’ he said.