Wednesday, May 30, 2012

...I found myself enjoying a little "me" time over the holiday weekend, and managed to pump out the final touches on a project that's been keeping my fingers in tune with the Piano Man for the past three months.  

My novella, a story I've hesitantly titled, "The Fall," (odds are weighing heavily on a name change prior to signing on the dotted line ;) is finished, with edits soon to follow, which, come to think of it, I'm looking forward to.

Edits are indeed a necessary evil.  They soak up available writing time in the same manner that my lab can lick her water bowl clean during these blazing temps.  Looking back on past trials, the endless months that were sacrificed fine-tuning "South of Charm," brought me close enough to my characters to smell the flavor of chewing gum balled up under Danny Kaufman's tongue.  Simply put, the art and challenge of an awe inspired edit, is where a story's soul is created.  It's that important.

...and so I celebrated this weekend, sharing a toast with the wife, a movie with the little ones, a game of H-O-R-S-E with my hoopster-crazed son, and roasting 'smores over a late night bonfire.  

Good times.

...and then I felt the urge for some quality reading material, and thought of my friends.

A click or two of the mouse led me to Amazon, and a few seconds later I secured "Slipstream," by fellow Blogger Michael Offutt.

From there I skipped about until finding Wendy Tyler Ryan's "Fire's Daughter," one that was long overdue for purchase ;)

I visited fellow 80's pal, Nicki Elson's seller page, and bounced away with her novel, "Three Daves."

Then I stumbled upon Nicki's shorty, "Sway," and couldn't resist ;)

Two clicks later and I found Robynne Rand's "Remembering You."  Sorry Hon, but try as you might, you'll always be Anne to me ;)

And not to be outdone, I couldn't go shopping without paying a visit to my pal from the bayou, Roland Yeomans.

I've got some reading to catch up on, and looking forward to it...


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Johnny's Run...

...since the first of the year, I've been drumming on a project, something a bit different from the usual sports-themed, Mitch Albom type of stories that I most enjoy penning.

Some time ago, a critique partner suggested I consider writing a little something in the romance genre.  I scoffed at the notion, considering my masculinity at stake.  

"Okay, whatever," was her response.  "But like it or not, you're a sensitive writer.  I think you'd do well."

"Well, maybe," I grumbled, setting aside the idea for later consideration.  "It'll leave me something to think about on a rainy day."

...that rainy day arrived, and from it, "The Fall" was born.

A month ago, give or take, I introduced Jessica.  I do believe it's now Johnny's turn to say hello...

It's still in infancy, but regardless, feel free to offer your thoughts... ;)

...5:45 p.m.

A groan rises from his throat.  It leaves his mouth only to be quashed by the sounds of impending road rage festering from either side.

How could this be happening?  He absolutely had to be there by six.  He'd promised.

The drone of a nearby horn, this one from a semi, returned his attention to the bedlam stretched out before him.  Cars and trucks of various sizes, lined up and boxed in, clogging both lanes of the road, engines humming, others grumbling, a few elderly models spewing clouds of smog into the air.

And rising in the distance, ribbons of soot, like oily snakes, etching black creases through an otherwise cloudless afternoon.

Leaning out the window, Johnny figures the wreckage to be strewn about along the mouth of the Cooper River Bridge.  Most likely sightseers, too busy admiring the massive structure to pay any attention to their neighboring driver.  A common occurrence.  

Johnny follows the trail of steel cables rising to a peak, eyes squinting against the sun's late day grin.  Upon completion, the bridge had quickly become one of Charleston's most impressive attractions.  An engineering masterpiece connecting the outside world with Battery Street, Fort Sumter, and the historic cobbled streets of the Old South.

For Johnny, the Cooper River Bridge stands for something else entirely.  He chooses to avoid the route whenever possible.  And when forced into crossing Cooper's irritable current, he never looks down.

The urge to offer another scowl at the clock proves too difficult to avoid.

A trio of digital numbers smile in return.  5:44.

His patience waning, fingers drumming on the steering wheel, Johnny spots an approaching patrolmen, weaving through the logjam on foot.

Noticeably overweight, the police officer shimmies and slides between plastic bumpers and vibrating tailpipes, at times rising on tip toe to avoid making contact with countless vehicles sweltering in the heat.  He comes to a stop several car lengths from Johnny's late model four-door, arms spread, palms rising and falling in an attempt at quieting what had become a cursing ruckus.

"It's blocked both lanes, I'm afraid," the policeman explains, chest heaving as if recently taking part in the yearly 5K run.  "Glass and wreckage scattered half way to Summerville.  It's a mess, but if ya'll can remain patient, we'll get things squared away real soon."

A chorus of grumbling travelers prevents Johnny from hearing the one piece of information he'd been hoping for.  Sensing the minutes slipping through his fingers, he lunges forward, narrowly missing the swing of a nearby fist, a man sending a roundhouse right through the air in frustration.  


The aging cop ducks his shoulders as if fearing an assault.  He turns, sees Johnny coming fast, and clutches the belt stretched across his waistband, fingers resting on the butt of his Taser.  

Johnny skids to a stop, sensing the man's reluctance, and lifts both hands into the air.  "Please sir, I just really need to know how long the clean-up's gonna take.  I'm supposed to be somewhere."

Trails of perspiration drain from the officer's neck as if he were standing under a shower head.  His cotton shirt, most likely white when he clocked in that morning, was now stained to a dingy gray.  He exhales a sigh, realizing Johnny's intent, and runs a thick forearm over his scalp.  Amid the chaos of screaming toddlers and flailing suits cursing into cell phones, the weary policeman studies the young man before him, considering his dilemma.  Perhaps noticing the sincerity etched into his brow.  Then he leans forward, a set of round shoulders slumping beneath the weight of moistened cotton and fatigue.

"I'm sorry, son.  But unless you can run for it, you won't be gettin there anytime soon."

Johnny's gaze lowers to the pavement.  He's about to turn back in the direction of his car, when he stops, repeating the cop's words under his breath.  "Run for..."

The policeman again places his hands upon his hips.  "You all right, son?"

Johnny opens his right hand, studying the car keys clutched inside.  Then he turns to the officer, whose expression had grown to one of irritable curiosity.

"It's the beige Honda sitting behind that red pickup truck," he says.

Before the policeman can answer, Johnny swings his hand through the air as if waving farewell to a departing ship, his fingers releasing their hold on the keys.  A flash of silver sails in an arc, over the roof of an idling Toyota.  They bounce off the cop's belly, and offer a jingle as they fall to the pavement...

Thanks for reading ;)


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Finding Inspiration...

...the following passage was written by Paulo Coelho.

Enjoy ;)

"I remember receiving a letter from the American Publisher Harper Collins that said: 'Reading The Alchemist was like getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world still slept.'

I went outside, looked up at the sky, and thought to myself, 'So, the book is going to be published in English!'

At the time, I was struggling to establish myself as a writer and to follow my path despite all the voices telling me it was impossible.

And little by little, my dream was becoming reality.  Ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million copies sold in America.  

One day, a Brazilian journalist phoned to say that President Clinton had been photographed reading the book.  Some time later, when I was in Turkey, I opened the magazine Vanity Fair and there was Julia Roberts declaring that she adored the book.  Walking alone down a street in Miami, I heard a girl telling her mother, 'You must read The Alchemist!'

The book has translated into fifty-six languages, has sold more than twenty million copies, and people are beginning to ask, 'What's the secret behind such a huge success? 

The only honest response is, I don't know.  All I know is that, like Santiago the shepherd boy, we all need to be aware of our personal calling..."

...scheduling conflicts and the daily grind can often treat one's personal time in the same manner as a moist sponge held under a leaky sink.  If only enough quiet time remains for one great read over the summer months, choose wisely, and consider The Alchemist.  

You can thank me later ;)

...keep writing, my friends.