The Therapist or the Dictator? (The Sage and the Scarecrow)

Project Summary: The following is a short passage from  Chapter 2 from my 2004 novel The Sage and the Scarecrow.

At the moment, I am revising the chapters from this book into 3-4 page short stories for posting on my blogs and in literary magazines.

The Novel in Short: Six months after his father has died from cancer, Pierce finds himself in a state of anxiety and crisis. The book follows Pierce through a journey to find his best friend and the only person he thinks can “cure” him.


Excerpt from Chapter 2 “The Therapist or the Dictator?”

Eventually, the subject of my dad’s funeral came up.

“I didn’t go. I’ve never liked funerals. Besides, he wouldn’t have cared. All the important things I needed to say to him, I said at home. He would’ve thought it was a load of nonsense.”

“Did you cry after he passed?”

“I did enough crying while he was sick.”

He asked me a few more questions, but I wasn’t listening.

I asked him, “Do you ever tell any of your patients, ‘Yes, all your fears and paranoias are completely justified and it’s the world that should change, not you’?”

He thought about it for a moment. “Sometimes I’d like to,” he said. “But the truth is it’s easier to change yourself than to change the world. There are things I’d like to change. I guess maybe I’d like someone to tell me that I could change it all. Then again, that person would be a different kind of monster. Someone with a youth mob and guns, instead of advice and medication like me.”

That made me really think. “It’s either the therapist or the dictator then?”

“Something like that, yeah.”

I looked up at Jamie in his nice suit. I suddenly admired this guy. He was listening to me. He knew I was on some wavy ocean steering between the Scylla of apathy, amorality, and neglect and the Charybdis of fascism and totalitarianism.  

And that was the crux of it. With his suit and tie, he made me think that perhaps this — my quest — wasn’t a complete waste of time.

You can read the entire chapter here:

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