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What Else He Wrote

Phase 2: Research

So, I haven't had much of a chance to start fleshing out the thumbs yet, but here is a little more background and research.

Obviously, the story takes place in my grandmother's house - mostly the attic where she keeps a collection of my grandfather's old things. My grandfather died when I was one, so I have no real memories of knowing him; my idea of him is pieced together from stories and pictures imparted to me by various family members. As a kid, I painted a pretty rosy picture of him. But the older I got, the more complicated this idea became. My grandfather was a foster child who became a Green Beret and served in Vietnam and Korea, and his pre-war self is - according to my father - vastly different from his post-war self. My dad was just a bit to young at the time to know the details of his service and discharge, but old enough to know that something had gone awry. In later years, he remembers his father being extremely paranoid that the government was after him, and for a time my grandfather was also suicidal. This is some of the knowledge I was equipped with when I decided to go snooping in the attic. My grandmother still does not know that I did this or what I found out.

Here are some photos that will help me flesh out my storyboards:

Phase 1: Story Idea

This is a story about perception and the proverbial family skeletons we keep in our closets.

As the only grandchild born before my grandfather passed, I grew up feeling a special connection to a man who I idealized as a writer like myself; he had published a children's book when my dad was young and that I had grown up reading.

But the older I got and the more I wrote myself, the more I realized that surely he had written other things besides this simple, charming story. I had also picked up traces of conversation that suggested he was not the perfect husband and father my grandmother made him out to be. And so when I found myself alone one day in my grandmother's house, I crept into the attic where I knew she kept files and a trunk of his old things. That was when I discovered What Else He Wrote.

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