Book review: “The Moral Is…”

the moral is

Rosalie Grosch
Arden Hills, Minn.

From 1972 to 2010 Thomas Thorsen, a Mechanical Engineer who loved books and writing, began creating a variety of stories and fables, some ending with a moral he wished to share. As a reader I can’t help but believe that Thorsen was chuckling as he put words together to tell his imaginative, far-fetched, and sometimes difficult to understand short stories. The picture on the cover of his book reflects a mischievous personality. Writing stories and fables was his hobby. Laughter bubbles up through the pages.

During the last two years of Thorsen’s life his wife, Inge, found the stories and fables on his computer and promised to put some of them together into a book others could enjoy. Thomas Thorsen passed away in 2013.

Although we are all gifted with words, not everyone knows how to creatively connect words and thoughts in ways that make a reader question, wonder, and laugh. Sometimes Thorsen’s connected words make no sense at all but are still just plain fun to read while the mind wanders aimlessly.

In one of the early short stories, “Amateur Logic,” Thorsen writes, “This page intentionally left blank. But, the page is obviously not blank, hence leading us to the Thorsen Paradox.” His moral statement: “Not all paradoxes are logical.”

Wouldn’t you like to read “Battle In The Apple,” labeled by Thorsen as either rhyme or poem? A note at the end of the piece states: “The composition cannot possibly be called a poem because: 1) it seems to make sense. 2) it didn’t write itself.”

The tongue-in-cheek, laugh-provoking, and thought-stimulating short literary pieces became so intoxicating to me that it was difficult to put the book down. I would often ask myself, “What is Mr. Thorsen going to tell me in his next short story?”

Because these are short stories and fables it was easy to pick up the book at any time, a nighttime read or a coffee table book. Who would think of writing about socks and clocks, or the carpenter and the poet, or the princess and the tennis balls?

Once again I was reminded that a story can be written about anything. Words are fun. Stretching words and thoughts beyond reality and things that make sense can be even more fun.

We are learning that when children hear words and stories at an early age they do better in school. We also know that writers are also readers. While words can communicate important information, words can also be playful and woven together into anything we want them to be.

Mr. Thorsen has inspired and challenged a reader to use his or her imagination. Consider a couple of his morals:

• “On the highway of life, deceiving oneself is easy.”

• “I have always wanted to write something I couldn’t understand.”

Perhaps Thomas Thorsen has done just that.

Rosalie Grangaard Grosch was born into a Norwegian/American family in Decorah, Iowa. A graduate of Luther College, she taught music and English in American schools, taught English and developed a team teaching program at Trinity School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was a drama/music/English teacher at Balob Teachers’ College, Lae, Papua New Guinea and Activity Director/Consultant for a long term care facility in St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN. She is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul and has written numerous articles for publication.

This article originally appeared in the July 24, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.