So, Project X features a lot of first-person stories from throughout Nashville’s history. I’ve been fretting the most over Dr. Jack Macon, wanting to include him and wanting to get his voice right. My assumption is that he must have been brilliant and he would have, as his master’s constant companion growing up, at least had the opportunity to see someone else learning to read and write.
So, the conceit in the story is that he’s literate, though self-taught. It goes (at least in this early draft):
I said, I would like some paper & a pen & some ink & I would like for Mister Macon to let me use it & not be crossed that I can do it. Who taught you? Me, I say. I learned myself. & he laughed, because they never believe what I can do until they have need of it.
He said, but I could set you free. I do not let myself hear it. That which is crooked cannot be made straight.
It’s that last part, the last sentence, that does me in. To me, it says everything about this character there is to be said. This is a man who can read the Bible, who knows it in his soul, who can quote the Preacher from memory when his own words fail him. And who feels something has been done to him that will never be undone and that the promise of its undoing is false. Is a vanity, like all is vanity.
Oh, and Sam Houston is a werewolf. Or was, until he got married.