When someone asks me what the message of my novel is, I want to run and scream? The … message? Does this presume I started out with an idea instead of a story? Horror! I think the message of a story emerges from the story itself rather than the other way around. Writers – at least this writer – don’t sit down and say, “I really want to write a story about the alienation of a grown son from his mother ….” And yet, that is what No Time To Wave Goodbye is about – sort of. It’s about the way mothers feel when their children stand full in their own lives, very proud but also sort of obsolete. It’s about how children feel about their parents, very loving but sort of at loose ends as to what to actually do with them … since grown kids don’t really need their parents (this love is meant to grow toward separation) and suddenly, the tables seem to be turned.
The story is also about what families do in a crisis.
What do they do?
First they panic. Then they blame. And then, if they’re brave and have resources of trust and ingenuity, they become a unit, pointed at the same goal, The grown children find out what parents are for in midlfe. The parents find out how desperately their children really do need them.
It’s the same for siblings. Some siblings are intensely close. All it takes is a phone call to bring a good sister to your side, even if the two of you haven’t spoken for months. Some siblings punch each other on the arm and show each other pictures of their kids when they happen to be in the same city for business, or see each other only at holidays. The Cappadora siblings look like the first kind but, under the surface, are the other kind.
At least, until they realize who they really are to each other….