Karl Dandenell’s story “Papa Pedro’s Children” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 28 July 2017.
“Papa Pedro’s Children” is one of those stories that took years to write. Literally. The situation came to me while I was sitting in a big, comfy rocking chair, giving my daughter a bottle. (She’s now in high school.) I wanted to explore the idea of a main character who was caring for a child that wasn’t his, so I needed to answer the questions: Who is he? Why is he doing this?
For the physical setting, I drew on the experiences of dear friends who spent five years at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Vicuña, Chile, and who adopted twin boys during their posting. (They also gave me excellent early feedback on language peculiarities and social interactions in that corner of the world. Any mistakes are strictly my own.)
The biggest challenge was getting into the proper headspace to write the story. As a first-time parent, the combination of sleep deprivation and emotional chaos (Love! Tenderness! Fear!) kept me from producing a lot of usable words, so I put this story aside to pursue other projects.
“Papa Pedro’s Children” came up for air from time to time, and I slowly worked through the plot and themes. Earlier drafts included a lot more politics, which didn’t really work. Finally, after some gentle prodding from the editor, I was able to focus on the core of the story. I hope you enjoy it.
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