"This bookworm and today my guest Jonathon Blum. Who's book of Short Stories? Were talking about today. The usual uncertainties. Well he's one of the very few people who I heard bookworm when he was attending Santa Monica College Enj from Santa Monica College he transferred to Ucla from Ucla. He applied to and got admitted to the University of Iowa. rining program probably then is now one of the very best in the country. Among the people he worked with there were Maryland Robinson but they offered an impressive staff of writers. Here's then as now. Maryland is just retired now. This book is beyond the usual uncertainties. It's twelve stories and these are stories you've written over the last. How many years I'll just over twenty twenty years of you've stories song and I know too that you teach writing in workshops around Los Angeles? Different kinds of workshops story workshops developing character workshops working on your novel workshops workshops so tell me after this time what is the. The short story has to do well Short story seems to be a highly compressed literary form They say it has to have a beginning being a middle and an end though not necessarily in that order I think of myself more disposition as a story writer than a novelist. Maybe maybe I'm one of those people who prefers three or four minutes songs too big symphonies. Shorts story isn't short in anything having other than length. Yes one of the things that I realized as I was reading your stories is that there is a moment where the surface of the story drops away and a dream or trance of what the story is takes its poice and so suddenly you're entering another realm entirely Someone is bringing a baby right to family. How do we know how this is happening? Why this is happening? He feels like Santa Claus. Right he tells us but somehow or other. This is a dream of a story in which a baby can be delivered. Yeah by the family Oral for me without story apples and oranges. I knew that I wanted to have this man. It takes place in nineteen fifty two and he goes out to the countryside outside of Philadelphia and he brings back to Philadelphia with him. A A an unwanted gentile baby and he's going to give of it to his wife sister and her husband to adopt. They haven't been able to have they haven't been able to have a child. Yeah and so will I knew something about what was hint his interior life and what he had in mind and the happiness that he wanted to bring to his sister in on brother-in-law but I didn't know at all what was going to happen in the story. And Yeah I mean he does bring this sort of fantastic gift gift But other than that. I didn't really know where the story was going. And that's often the case. When I begin a story I may have some sense of of where could be going? But I'm I'm pretty open about it. I you know Grace Paley that line about giving your characters the open destiny of life. I really try to do that. I like them to have an open destiny of life within the story. And then I like my endings to be open to because I think characters are still capable table of behaving Unpredictably even after a story and well that story if I remember correctly that that mentions the open destiny of life story by Grace Pantley quota conversation with my father and many many of your stories are conversations with parents. That's right and in fact the first story and a young boy has has gone with his father who's adopter. His parents are divorced. He ends up going with his father for the weekends. His father has to work right and takes him to the hospital. The boy sits around waiting until the father one day says would you like to make my rounds with me and not just that shows him how how to look at an x Ray. Yes it's a pulmonologist but he does locate cancer. I mean because he's looking at chest xrays so he's looking issue Z.. Whether there's cancer or emphysema what the patient's condition is but the marvellous thing. Is that this drops away too soon. The boy is going into the rooms with the father but not just into the rooms where he knows news that a patient has terminal cancer as indicated by the title of the story. The white spot was an indication on the x Ray a cancer but the father is talking to a woman where she from Hungary from Hong Yes. Well her family's ways from Hungary actually. She grew up in the United States. But she's of Hungarian ancestry. The father is getting the Hungarian woman to tell the story. Essentially of anti-semitism in Hungary and the father is teaching the boy that that not how to be a doctor right not how to be compassionate and not how to talk to a patient about death but to show the boy that these people are used to the experience of people coming from extermination camp. Yeah the drop that I'm talking about into the trance of the dream right. The boy is being told a completely different story Ori by his father in collaboration with the Hungarian woman neither of whom know how powerful awful What they're saying is to the boy? The boy is something. Well he's an attractions he's in a trance too. You and I would say the exciting thing to me about reading your stories. I was following following the trance of the story and Song I think of this as leading the reader down the garden path into another realm of reality. Yeah I agree with what you're saying about both of those stories and I think also those stories have immigrants in common and one of the things. I think that unifies the collection is that threaded throughout there are a a number of immigrants from various places in the white spots there in from the white spot there from Russia. But you know I have a Thai emigrant I have Armenian emigrants people that make up Los Angeles. I mean Los Angeles is ten million people in Los Angeles County and three point. Five million of those are not born in the United States so I think the immigrant experiences pretty central to the Los Angeles experience. And of course you know my own family has an immigrant background as well. Well I would go further and say that the stories prove that life is strange. That what a story doesn't do is tell you you you already know in the second story. I mentioned called apples and oranges. None of these people. I know what to do with this outside the family outside the flock outside the tribe baby. Yeah but but the bringer of the baby knows right then in a few weeks it'll be like every other baby right. It will be loved. It will be cared for. It will be ideal yes and it will always be a baby of gentile ancestry. And that's something that I wanted to explore usually it's Jews who are trying to assimilate into the larger culture but this will be a baby that is going to be assimilating into Jewish culture which I just really enjoyed that aspect of the story."