Flights of Fancy

Burt Kempner

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Have you ever been on a train as it slowed through a town, and made up stories about the people living in the houses you’re passing by? Have you refused to abandon your imaginary friends from childhood, except now you call them characters?”—Burt Kempner

Pinhead Angel 

By Burt Kempner

“Le mal 'du pays,” by René Magritte.

“Le mal du pays,” by René Magritte.

Burt Kempner

GAINESVILLE Florida—(Weekly Hubris)—April 2019—Have you ever . . ?

Have you ever felt a deep pang of nostalgia for a person you’ve never met, a place you’ve never been to or an event that never happened? Have you ever been on a train as it slowed through a town, and made up stories about the people living in the houses you’re passing by? Have you refused to abandon your imaginary friends from childhood, except now you call them “characters”? Then you, Sir or Madam, are a writer, even if you never put pen to paper. 

“Icarus.”

“Icarus,” by Henri Matisse.

There was once a young man I called Icarus. He was caught in a bad marriage between the wax holding his wings together and the sun forcing them apart. He swooped and laughed and punched holes in the clouds. Did he hear me call to him from a safe, boring place far below that he was losing feathers rapidly? Probably. But accompanying the wild geese on their holy pilgrimage was infinitely more satisfying than listening to the lectures of a year-bitten fossil.

Did he cry out when the crude wings dissolved? Did he curse, did he pray? 

I don’t know, for now I’m rowing out to sea as swiftly and urgently as I can. The tears I have are of determination rather than desperation. I will not—I cannot—allow him to disappear beneath the waves.

Burt Kempner

About Burt Kempner

Burt Kempner has worked as a scriptwriter in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Florida. His work has won numerous major awards, and has been seen by groups ranging in size from a national television audience in the United States to a half-dozen Maori chieftains in New Zealand. His documentaries have appeared on PBS, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, CNBC, and European and Asian TV networks. He has two dogs, a cat, a wife and a son and is randomly kind to them all. More recently, Kempner has written three rather subversive books for children: Larry the Lazy Blue Whale, Monty the Movie Star Moose and The Five Fierce Tigers of Rosa Martinez. Visit his Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/burtkempner
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