Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Charming in May"




...anyone up for a spirited read over Spring Break?

"South of Charm"- ...Alone in the dark, one arm hugging the other, I studied the knee-high ocean of wheat billowing in the breeze. A field butted up to our backyard, the year's crop still green, their stalks thin like rye grass.

And as I sat, I thought of Richie Frank's laugh, like the boisterous call of a blue-jay. I wondered if Brad had caught me in height, or perhaps passed me by. He'd been gaining on me the summer past.

And while I knew I'd be seeing them in less than a day, I felt certain that my friends were long gone.

Then as I watched the darkened silhouette of a field moving as one, I spied a pair of golden eyes shimmering amongst the harvest, and realized an old friend had returned.

Dad had scoffed at the idea of bringing the cat on moving day. "That old thing?" he'd said. "He won't make it through the winter no matter where he lives. Leave him be."

The wheat parted, and the cat sauntered into the yard. He walked with a limp, his coat no worse for the wear, but covered in burrs and field dust. He made his way to my side, where he rested his haunches, regarding my shock with disinterest. As if a cat making a ten mile trek across the county to reunite with a friend was common practice.

"It's you," I said. "You're here."

I reached behind a mangled ear and with thumb and forefinger, massaged his scruff. He managed a purr, broken and laced with phlegm. A moment passed before he lifted a paw to his tongue and started cleaning. He had his work cut out for him.

"You're the first visitor I've had out here," I said.

Satisfied, the tabby moved to its thigh, a sheet of sandpaper caressing the rough spots.

"She's sick again."

He started working on the back of his head with a moistened paw. Poor thing needed a bar of soap.

"I hate it here. Stuck in the middle of nowhere. We don't even go to church anymore."

Giving up on those hard to reach places, he started in on what was left of his tail.

"Now I get to play my old team tomorrow, and probably get slaughtered."

At this, the tabby stopped bathing and faced me, as if considering my dilemma. His whiskers, one or two bent at an angle, others broken off completely, twitched in the breeze, the air smelling of rain. He flattened his ears, lifted his striped tail, and whipped it about like a festering snake. I couldn't decide if he was displaying concern, or trying to tell me something like, "Calm down, kid. At least you've got a healthy set of thumbs."

The one-sided conversation lasted well into the night. And as I spoke, I feared at some point he'd start talking back. I was my mother's son, after all.

But as the conversation ended, and the cat departed for the field, my only regret as I rose from the dewy grass, was that he hadn't said a word, when I'd hoped he would...

"South of Charm"---May, 2011 :)

28 comments:

The Words Crafter said...

Oh my gosh!!! That's less than a month away!!!! If you have a release date, I'd be happy and HONORED to do a post! Just let me know! *happy dancing*

L'Aussie said...

Say Elliot is it out so soon? Such a long wait for you! I can't wait to get my paws on it. I love the extracts you've been posting, so Pat Conroy to me. I'd love to do a post. As you know I've followed you for a long time and am very captivated by your charm (ing0 book.

Denise<3

L'Aussies Travel Blog A - Z Challenge - D is for Darfur

Elliot Grace said...

...thanks guys for your support, and the offers to write a post. I've been instructed to figure on a month, give or take, so I'll definitely be in touch. And thanks Denise for the comparison to Pat Conroy. I'm humbled.

EL

KarenG said...

This is my kind of book. Just finished Mississippi Cotton and am still reeling over that, which I compared to Prince of Tides. your book is definitely going on my to read list. And let me know if I can help in any way.

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

So excited. Can't wait to read it.

Donna Hole said...

You're such a tease El :) I can hardly wait for the whole novel.

.......dhole

Francesca said...

sounds riveting. if only i read books LOL x

Anne Gallagher said...

Yay!!!! I can't wait to get my hands on this book.

If you need anything let me know.

DEZMOND said...

this was wonderfully picturesque, El. I felt as if I was reading some literary classic ;)

DEZMOND said...

and you really need to start a huge blog tour with the upcoming book.

Jemi Fraser said...

Beautiful! Can't wait for the book's release! Will you have it available on Kindle?

I'd love to help you promote it as well - let me know how I can help!

Lola Sharp said...

You know I'd be happy to do a post/tweet/help promote it.

I'm excited for you! :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Awesome! :)

I loved reading the excerpt.

Jodi Henry said...

Barracuda :) Not really.

Jodi Henry said...

Every piece I read makes me want to read more. I can see you've put a lot of yourself into your novel ;)


Thanks for stopping by regularly. Can't wait for the release of SoC.

J

Christine Danek said...

I'll help you promote it. Let me know if you need anything. Donna is right, this is a tease. Can't wait for the release.

Elliot Grace said...

...thanks everyone for your support, and I will be in touch upon the book's release. I've heard there are a couple of local signings already scheduled, and am hopeful for a virtual tour as well.

Thanks again!

EL

Nicki Elson said...

Awww--he hoped the cat would say something. Too cute. Poor kid. The cover is wonderful! And a Hill Street Blues reference you say? Awesome. :)

Looking forward to the hype as you approach release. I'm going to go look for you on Goodreads right now.

Nicki Elson said...

Oops forgot to tell you that one of your two guesses (I'll overlook the cheating this time ;)) on the inspiration for the setting of Hill Street Blues was corrct! Chicago. :)

Murees Dupé said...

Congratulations on the book. I thought your excerpt was very well written and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you so much for following my blog.

Amanda Trought said...

Elliot, thanks for your visit, great to read an excerpt of your book, definitely love your writing style, looking forward for its release:)

Josh Hoyt said...

Looks like a great read. I look forward to following your blog.

L'Aussie said...

Hey Elliot, let me know which Pat Conroy you bought.

Elliot Grace said...

...I've been notified of an upcoming meeting later this week, regarding a plan for reviews, as in, who they're sending "the package" to for professional blasphemy. Preparing to be robbed of whatever confidence I've gained to this point.

Thanks everyone for commenting:)

EL

Jennifer said...

Congratulations on your book. I have put it on my must read list. I loved loved loved your A Day at Barnes post. I was looking for the facebook like button so I could share it on facebook. Anyway best of Luck!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I will snap up a copy, Elliot. I'm so happy for you. I pray the sales hit the roof. I will do a post on your book when it comes out. Depend on it.

You are a great writer. Reviews are written by strangers. You know you, and you know your prose. And so do all of us -- and it is empathic, touching, and vibrant, Roland

Elliot Grace said...

...one couldn't ask for better and more timely support. Following a busy week on the grind, I'm catching up on everyone's comments with hands that tremble with emotion.

Thank you everyone!

EL

Adeeva Afsheen said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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