Monday, January 11, 2010

Excerpt from "Universal Man," a Novel


As I was lying in bed one morning, I thought about what special item I could share with you for Christmas. There are always encouraging “snippets” from sidewalk counseling and the Pregnancy Helpline, but I don’t have a big story from them to tell right now. And then it occurred to me—I have a story already. So, I decided to give you an except from my book, Universal Man. What I include here is not an exciting, action-filled scene, nor is it brilliantly crafted dialog, nor an exposition of the dramatic, world shattering plot. Instead, it is a humble, poignant letter written in the midst of all those things from a young woman, Sarah, to her brother, Stan Timmons. The story is like a Christmas story—joy and redemption within an environment of sorrow and pain, if you think of Herod’s slaughter of the innocents.

When he receives Sarah’s letter, Stan is secretly staying overnight at the home of his pastor, Fr. Murray Schmidt in Vancouver, Washington. Stan had been hiding on a Hutterite Colony near Spokane for about a year, and he has not seen his children, Maxwell and Chrysanthe, or heard any news of them, ever since a horrific government-inflicted “disaster” at the Mollicoat Estate. The Estate was the location of a retreat center in NW Oregon, and the second home of the Sterne family and home of many other people, including Stan’s parents. Stan’s wife, Mindy, is dead, but that is a whole different tale. (Her maiden name is Sterne.) As he reads Sarah’s letter, written a year earlier and kept by Fr. Schmidt, Stan has just left the friends he made on the Hutterite Colony, and he is poised to embark upon a noble and lonely mission that likely will cost him his life.

Sarah had been taking a break from packing for the Sterne family’s permanent move from their Columbia River house to the Mollicoat Estate when the disaster occurred. With her were Stan’s children; her young son, Guthrie, who Sarah conceived through rape before she was married; Kiyohira and Mutsumi, children of her husband, who had been widowed; and Stan’s youngest brothers-in-law. Luther Sterne was 14. Sarah’s husband, Bennett Uchida, had just been murdered in the disaster. As Sarah wrote, she and all the children were on their way to Newport Bay, Oregon where she expected to board a fishing boat, which was to meet a Coast Guard Cutter, which was to rendezvous with a submarine, which was to take them to a safe country. Fr. Schmidt was driving them in a church van.

[excerpt below]


Zack said...

Is this a true occurance? Approximately what year was this? i'm confused, what is Stan's last name? Or have names been changed.

Meredith Eugene Hunt said...

Sorry, I should have explained. UM is a novel. Stan's last name is Timmons. The letter was/is written on August 28, 2017. Stan read/reads it about a year later. There is a synopsis of the book earlier in this blog. Good fiction is about 80% true.

Zack said...

What percent of this one is true? I'm interested in the part where stan stays at the colony, is that part true? If so, when?

Meredith Eugene Hunt said...

UM is a work of fiction. Once it’s published, I recommend that you study the Hutterites and determine for yourself how authentic my presentation of life on a colony is. One source is the book “Hutterite Society” by John Hostetler. Another book is “Hutterites of Montana” by Laura Wilson.

Zack said...

Cool. When is your estimation of publication. :) Yeah, i'm feelin rhymy today. lol.

Just out of pure curiousity, why hutterites?

I actually have studied them quite a bit and have some relations there. . .

Meredith Eugene Hunt said...

Hello Zack,

Why Hutterites? Probably three dozen reasons. The most obvious one to the story is that Stan Timmons, a high school English teacher, has been hiding in the North Cascades and seeks a place of refuge for the winter. He has heard of the Hutterites because of his familiarity with the writings of Leo Tolstoy, who is somewhat revered by the people of the “Arnoldleut”—the Bruderhof.

I looked at your blog and followed the link to Mr. Everman’s blog and found that he is a teacher at a colony. Also, that your last name is Hutterite. Do you have relatives at that colony where Mr. Everman teaches? I would guess that your father or grandfather grew up there. Or maybe you did, too.

You can see my family photo on my blog. My oldest is Priscilla, who is 26. (She is not married yet. She teaches violin.) Then there is Arthur and his wife and baby Grace, then Anna, Jeffrey, Peter, and Christopher, who is 14. I guess we are like Hutterities—we believe in having a large family. I don’t farm, but we have a big garden, fruit trees, blueberry and strawberry plants, and I try to keep honeybees, though I don’t have any right now.

Date of publication? I don’t know because I have to self-publish, but I hope by the end of the year. I have been working on the book for 10 years this month.