“The Long Way Home” was written at Literary Boot Camp with Uncle Orson himself presiding. The assignment was to write something based on research conducted during that week, including street interviews with random people. This is harder than it seems, especially for famously introverted creative types. My interview was spectacularly awkward and uneventful, thus I had decided, of course, to write a short black comedy about a pregnant witch. I had formulated the story in my head and was about to begin the marathon of writing it when my awkward street interview came back to me, bringing a different idea with it.
Suddenly, the man I had interviewed (accompanied by his son and dog) had a history. More importantly, he had a place to go, and it wasn’t just around the corner on his regular evening stroll. The man (I named him Henry) was going to confront some buried secrets in a rather fantastical representation of his childhood hometown. It was less a complete story than a Twilight Zoney “what-if” scenario. When I started writing it I didn’t know how it would end. When it did end (some nine hours later) it surprised me. It moved me a little. It's a bit cheesy and melodramatic, yes, but that’s true of the most prosaic truths in life, isn’t it? The trick as a writer isn’t to avoid the cheesy truths but to present them in such a way that the reader forgets, at least for a few minutes, that they are cheesy. Hopefully it works in this instance.
-G. Norman Lippert