In A World of Small Truths
“Laid To Rest”
“Laid to Rest” is from Ray Morrison’s debut story collection, IN A WORLD OF SMALL TRUTHS (Press 53). His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Fiction Southeast, Ecotone, Aethlon, Carve Magazine, Word Riot, Night Train, and others. He won first prize in the Short Story category of the 2011 Press 53 Open Awards.
Morrison said this about his story: When I began writing “Laid to Rest” I had in mind only the simple premise of creating a story with a conflict between two neighbors. This type of story could be set anywhere – city, suburb, rural – but I chose to have it take place in the farm country of North Carolina because I liked the possibility of my characters having a sense of handling their problems and conflicts on their own, without a natural tendency to rely on law enforcement.
But as the story developed, while the conflict itself was interesting from the point of view of creating tension, it occurred to me that so many confrontations we all have are based more on misunderstanding rather than actual grievance. So although it wasn’t my initial intention, I quickly realized I wanted Carson to come out of his experience a changed man, with the realization that when confronted with an unknown situation it is important to consider all possibilities and give others the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions. This is a theme that runs through a number of my short stories.
I also wanted readers to get a strong sense of Carson’s integrity at the end of the story by having him respect the Sulleys’ desire for privacy as demonstrated by having Carson not tell his own wife the truth about what had happened that morning. I guess I’d like to think I would act like that myself if faced with a similar dilemma.