Paul Hadella

I’m naturally attracted to first-person narratives. That’s the only way I can explain why most of my favorite literature, starting with Huck Finn and Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado,” and almost all of my stories use an “I” point of view. I write a lot of poems and songs, too, and most of those are in first person. This has led to some awkward moments with people assuming I’m writing or singing about myself. They think that I, mild-mannered Paul, am admitting to cheating on my wife, starting fights, being a sorry-ass drunk, etc. I get this even from people who should know better, people who tell me they read a lot of books and have been music consumers since the British Invasion. I ask them, “When you hear Neil Young singing, ‘Down by the river, I shot my baby,’ do you really think he is confessing to a murder?” Even when personal experience is a seed for a story (as in the three stories of mine J Journal has published), the furthest thing from my mind is to tell things “just as they happened.” I never limit the “I” character to what I felt, said, thought, or did. The “I” character is a rhetorical device with only one purpose: to serve the story.