This week, Judith Felsen­feld, the author of Blaustein’s Kiss blogs for The Post­script on the reac­tion of some friends and fam­i­ly to her work of fiction. 

The Post­script series is a spe­cial peek behind the scenes” of a book. It’s a juicy lit­tle extra some­thing to add to a book clubs dis­cus­sion and a read­er’s under­stand­ing of how the book came together. 

A cou­ple of days after Blaustein’s Kiss, my col­lec­tion ofshort fic­tion, is pub­lished, my cousin Roz phones to say­how much she loves the book but — minis­cule cor­rec­tion— the shay­na kupp’ issue came up around Thanksgiving,not a Seder.On Face­book, a for­mer room­mate posts that her­mem­o­ries of the years she and I hung out togeth­er dif­fer­sub­stan­tial­ly from mine. She unfriends me​.In an e‑mail, Aunt Flo, who moved to Oax­a­ca in 1985and is not often in touch, calls the book a fab­u­lous readand express­es her grat­i­tude that final­ly some­one­un­der­stands where she’s com­ing from, fam​i​ly​-wise​.My niece shoots me an e‑mail: Real­ly enjoyed yoursto­ries. Quick fact check — Mom was no longer play­ingthe cel­lo when Dad passed away. She had giv­en it upsev­er­al years before, due to low­er back issues.

Why is it, I won­der, that these friends and fam­i­ly­mem­bers assumed I was writ­ing about them? Why arepeo­ple dri­ven to insert them­selves into works of fiction,particularly the fic­tion of some­one close to them? Is it akind of hubris, val­i­da­tion? There I am in black and whiteon the page, there­fore I exist?

In the inter­est of clar­i­fi­ca­tion: I write fic­tion. How­ev­er, as in the sto­ries in Blaustein’s Kiss, there was a much­beloved grand­moth­er in my child­hood; a boy in myson’s class con­tract­ed diph­the­ria; friends of mine set upa not-for-prof­it that pro­vides sanc­tu­ary for abused­women; I once sat next to a mouthy lit­tle girl on the­Broad­way #104 bus who enter­tained the entire back­row with fun­ny, inap­pro­pri­ate remarks; a neighbor’skid took oboe lessons; the death of our fam­i­ly dog was ato­tal­ly wrench­ing expe­ri­ence; we car­ry a quilt in the­back seat of our car. It comes in handy.
Judith Felsen­feld book of short fic­tion, Blaustein’s Kiss, was pub­lished in April, 2014. Her sto­ries have appeared in numer­ous mag­a­zines and lit­er­ary reviews, includ­ing The Chica­go Review, The South­west Review, Blue Mesa, and broad­cast nation­wide on NPR’s Select­ed Shorts.