My Friend, Lee Snare

My Friend, Lee Snare

Lee Snare, writer, poet, and friend, popped up on Facebook today. Lee and his artist wife, Marylou, are living in a retirement community in the Chicago suburbs. Until he moved, Lee was a valued member of my writers’ group. He’s also a retired engineer, and his writing was spare and precise, as fit his profession.

Here’s my favorite Lee Snare Story:

If you’ve read Revenge of the Soccer Moms, you might remember the scene in which Karma finds the car that hit her daughter. She uses a common household item to exact revenge on the car. (I’m trying not to spoil the scene, in case you haven’t read it.)

When I sent out that chapter for critique, Lee expressed doubts. He said he wasn’t sure this particular item could actually inflict the kind of damage I’d described. Before I could claim “artistic license,” Lee explained that he’d gathered some old tires, brought them into his workshop, and experimented with a variety of common household devices.

“It’s harder to puncture a tire than you might think,” he said. I had to admit that I’d never thought to try. I just wrote the scene.

Peter J. Welling, the most-published of all of us in the group, taught me that it’s a mistake to shake readers out of the “moment” by making factual mistakes, getting an historical event wrong, disrupting the continuity of time, and otherwise being sloppy as a writer.

So I had to rethink the scene, and thus was born an improbable–but not impossible–household object that even Lee agreed could puncture a tire, if it actually existed.

Feel free to comment if you remember the device and how Karma gets it.

I love you, Lee Snare. Who else would go to the trouble of dragging old tires into their house to help a fellow writer “get it right?” 

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