February 15, 2014

Blogger Prompts Reflections on Steinbeck, Forgiveness, and “The Flying Nun”

GERMAN NOVELIST AND BLOGGER Christoph Fischer prompted author John Paul Godges to share his inspirations as a writer, his favorite qualities in the characters in his family memoir, and his suggestions about the types of actors who could portray some of those characters on the wide screen.

“Steinbeck is my role model,” Godges identified one of his inspirations. “In just about everything he wrote, he revealed his love for people, animals, and the land. My favorite books of his are Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. I genuinely miss his characters: the Joads, the Hamiltons, and the Trasks. They had their faults, but Steinbeck showed us how to love them through his words. I cannot imagine a nobler task for a writer.”

As for the characters in his memoir, said Godges, “Forgiveness is the characteristic I like most. Without the ability to forgive one another and to look beyond our personal agendas, there can be no family, and there can be no society. The characters stick to their guns, but they learn to respect each other’s competing guns and to forgive one another for the wounds they inevitably inflict.”

Who would play some of those characters on film? “Valerie Harper would play my mom, the emotionally effusive Italian,” Godges suggested. “Christopher Plummer would play my dad, the morally rigorous Marine. Sally Field would play my mentally ill sister, whose character is a cross between ‘The Flying Nun’ and ‘Sybil.’”

Godges described his mentally ill sister Geri as his “favorite character of all. She is the heart and soul of the family, because she taught us how to love one another.”


Novelist Christoph Fischer Interviews Author John Paul Godges