Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I put my friend Patrick into my second novel as a (very nice) giant mutant rat. This is not true Tuckerization, which is naming minor characters after friends. The rat is an important character in the novel and doesn't bear Pat's name. I no longer remember why I did this. When I was a kid I had a baby sitter who worked at the University of Minnesota labs; and she would take my brother and me to the labs to play with the rats and mice and bunnies and monkeys. This left me with positive feeling toward rats that has lasted my entire life; and they are always positive characters in my fiction. They represent canny survival in difficult circumstances. (A medical lab is a very difficult circumstance, though also clean, well lit and usually with a well-balanced diet. But the nice people who care for you are trying to kill you.) Maybe I thought Pat was a canny survivor.

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