Posted in Short Stories

Leon V. Driskell: A Fellow Making Himself Up

Deal Me In 2020 – Week 41

Leon V. Driskell’s short story “A Fellow Making Himself Up” follows R. P. White (his given name) as he changes his name to Rosco because he doesn’t know what the R and the P stand for. This transformation may not be the type we would traditionally consider inspirational but as I continued reading I found myself nodding my head saying “Yeah, yeah…I get that”.

He gets tired of saying “R (only) P (only)” to everyone including Irma at the diner whom his family thinks he would have married if he had already changed his name to Roscoe. He apparently goes on to marry Pearl whom everyone thinks is better anyway.

The story is told in third person based on what uncle Lester knows about Rosco whom he refers to as uncle. It’s not clear who is uncle to whom. It’s seems like uncle Lester is telling this story to those younger than he is who call him uncle Lester and uncle Lester called Rosco “uncle”. The confusion adds to the fun of the story. These characters are included in Driskell’s novel Passing Through. Perhaps reading that might explain things.

In this story, Rosco makes his way through the Great Depression:

…it was the Great Depression, though Rosco told Lester that the only difference he could see between the Depression and what come before was that the Federal Government began to notice that folks were poor.

Driskell also wrote a book titled The Eternal Crossroads: The Art of Flannery O’Connor. I can see an O’Connor influence on this story, maybe, but without O’Connor’s gothic characteristics.

This is another story included in the collection Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories edited by Morris Allen Grubbs. I read it when I selected the Three of Diamonds for Week 41 of my Deal Me In 2020 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In 2020 list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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