Mar 23, 2011
I have eleven scars from eleven separate incidents, collected as a result of bad luck and bad decisions. All of them are evidence of healing, and healing, to me, is a curious phenomenon and something that I wanted to explore a little bit in my novel, The Samaritan.
Think of healing. What comes to mind? Bright thoughts of light and religion, of closed wounds and miracles? Probably. But healing, the process, the body going through the repair of a devastated area, well, that is agonizing and takes a lot of time. Depending on the devastation, of course.
When I think of healing, I think of my burns—burns sustained when the neighborhood bully lit me on fire. I remember a day in the hospital, a few days after skin was grafted from my thigh onto the burned parts of my body—my upper arm, elbow area, chest, and my jawline. My shorn thigh kept seeping through the gauze, and the nurses kept wrapping it, day after day, until I had a good several inches of gauze binding my right leg. So I was messed up all over, and the itch was unimaginable, so deep and debilitating I wanted to bore through the gauze until I struck bone. No amount of rubbing and jostling would satisfy that itch. One day a nurse came in with bandage scissors. It was time to remove the gauze on my thigh. She handed me the scissors and told me I had a few hours to take it off myself, at my own pace, but the rest would come off later in the day whether I liked it or not.
That was a pretty long day, and days like that float through my head when I think of healing.
In the movies, Wolverine heals instantly. He’s missing out on all the little flavors of the healing process, the part that makes a memory, the part that leaves a scar. That’s not healing—that’s CGI. What if Wolverine healed like us . . . a realistic, human pace . . . complete with the pain, the itch, the waiting for days on end, the subtle growth and change of color in the flesh at the glacial speed of changing seasons? Would he still be a superhero?
The process of healing is what really intrigued me about the premise of The Samaritan. The fact that Dale Sampson can slowly and painfully regrow things that humans cannot regrow was interesting to me, but not nearly as delicious as the thought of him repeating the process over and over again. Voluntarily. With the stakes being the lives of others and his love for a girl.
There is a space between hurt and healed, one filled with waiting and hoping, fighting pain, wishing the precious minutes away so that time may do its work more quickly. It is this space in which Dale Sampson spends much of his time; it’s this space he has to escape so that the process can complete itself.
But he can regenerate; he’s a fictional character. Sometimes the fight is lost. Sometimes the body can’t complete the repairs. For me, the fight lasted six years and it was worth every single second of effort and pain because the alternative was giving up or not giving a full recovery your best shot.
But I’m not special. Everyone has a scar. Everyone has a story. Share yours in the comments below.
Fred Venturini received a B.S. in English from MacMurray College in 2002, and an MFA from Lindenwood University in 2009. He has 19 short stories published or due to be published.
From tightly woven horror and unmitigated creepiness, to evocative literary fiction, with a few auto restorer hints thrown in for good measure, Fred’s gift for pacing and clarity-and for getting under your skin-is powerful.
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Check out my Review of The Samaritan
by Fred Venturini
To age is to embrace a slow hurt inside and out, to collect scars like rings on a tree, dark and weathered and sometimes only visible if someone cuts deep enough. Scars keep the past just close enough to touch, but healing is forgetting. Healing invites another cut. Healing is the tide that smoothes away our line in the sand. For life to begin, the damage must be permanent.
- Dale Sampson, The Samaritan
Dale Sampson is a nobody. A small town geek who lives in the shadow of his best friend, the high school baseball star, it takes him years to even gather the courage to actually talk to a girl. It doesn’t go well. Then, just when he thinks there’s a glimmer of hope for his love life, he loses everything.
When Dale runs into the twin sister of the girl he loved and lost, he finds his calling–he will become a samaritan. Determined to rescue her from a violent marriage, and redeem himself in the process, he decides to use the only “weapon” he has–besides a toaster. His weapon, the inexplicable ability to regenerate injured body parts, leads him to fame and fortune as the star of a blockbuster TV reality show where he learns that being The Samaritan is a heartbreaking affair. Especially when the one person you want to save doesn’t want saving.
The Samaritan is a brutally funny look at the dark side of human nature. It lays bare the raw emotions and disappointments of small town life and best friends, of school bullies and first loves, of ruthless profiteers and self-aggrandizing promoters—and of having everything you know about human worth and frailty questioned under the harsh klieg
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~Everyone has a scar. Everyone has a story. Share yours in the comments below.
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