By Gene Farrignton
Aperture, a slightly askew, slightly perverted bildungsroman, is the story of Garnie, who at ten speaks with an affected English accent and lives in a dilapidated house in a small town in Iowa. It is the 1940s and the war arrives, and even in rural Iowa lives are altered. Garnie’s Auntie Rye is a tall person who shaves as she reads gothic fiction to him, and she has a penis. Auntie Rye is extremely rich (old Chicago money) and Garnie wants for nothing. Nothing except better living conditions, indoor plumbing, and to find out what happened to, and where in the world his Mommy and Daddy are.
Their life together progresses through the explosion of their home, prejudice against Auntie Rye’s Communist leanings, their travels to Chicago and New York, along with their weekly sojourns in a 1934 Dodge sedan across the Mississippi on the suspension span into Wisconsin, somewhat curtailed by gas rationing. They encounter the famous and the interesting in their travels, along with more than slightly unusual common folk. Through it all, Garnie, the gifted progeny of someone (Garnie has trouble determining whom) pursues his love of photographic art. The pair’s lives and choices are shaped by the Second World War. And while Garnie’s interest centers on the war, photographically, he also has an intense interest in the penis, his own and others. As Garnie passes through puberty and arrives into his teenage years filled with baseball, visions of war and death, music, Catholicism, and distinctive town folk, he also discovers who he is and what he’s about.
This is his adventure, his story as told by him. But the war must end and so must his story, not with a whimper, but a bang.
About the Author
Gene Farrington was one of perhaps thirteen people born in North Dakota. Growing up he lived with his seven siblings in towns in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The varius loci perhaps enhanced the potential to produce a writer. At Monona High in Iowa, he wrote only one poem, confiscated as the English teacher assumed it had been plagiarized because of its brilliance. He joined the Marines and was shipped off to Korea. There was a war on, although they didn’t call it that. Whatever it was, it provided fodder for a novel presently in process entitled The Accoucher Comes. After the USMC he enrolled at Kent State, married, moved to Los Angeles to escape the Ohio winters, divorced, managed an in-house advertising ad agency and, in his spare time, wrote bad fiction. He discovered creative writing at Cal State L.A. and, under the tutelage of novelist John Weston, learned to write. He completed his B.A. and M.A. and had his first play produced. Liz Trupin of JET Literary Associates became his agent and remains his agent eons later; she sold his tenth-century novel, Breath of Kings , to Doubleday. He went off to University of California, Santa Barbara and got his Ph.D. Another play was produced—Halek, in which Shakespeare speaks only words he had written. It won the Corwin Metropolitan Theatre award. He taught at Cal State, L.A., the University of San Diego, and Cal State San Bernardino before arriving at Notre Dame of Maryland University where he teaches literature, theatre courses and creative writing.