View Full Version : JREF Writer's Group, January Offering.

27th December 2003, 11:55 PM
Hey, all.

As promised, this is my offering for the consideration of the group. Normally, as Phil has asked, we would be circulating this around amongst ourselves. However, I'm posting this publicly for several reasons.

(1.) First, I'm having trouble getting this to go out as an attachment to the other group members. This, therefore, gives everyone a change to take a look at it, and provides a back-up should the e-mail fail. (I was a poet, and didn't know it... Yeah, I know it's old. So am I.)

(2.) The other reason is that it gives other JREFers a chance to see what it is we're up to. Maybe some of you will join it. The largest group of people you'll ever meet are people who are going to write a book someday. We're doing it now. Why not join us?

(3.) In another thread, I have mentioned some family difficulties. This will explain some of those difficulties, and I hope you'll understand. Maybe you will, maybe you won't. But I feel like it must be told.

This is the last chapter of the book I'm working on. I know it's weird, doing it like this, but sometimes, this is the way it works out.

If you want to send a criticism, you can PM me. Otherwise, enjoy. (At least, I hope you will) Bear in mind, it's a real rough draft, so don't get too upset.


Dream of Bright Skies…

I remember October, 1983. The antiseptic smell, the fecal odor coming from the other patients, the stench of urine…

Throughout my childhood, my mother would tell me, “They’re coming for you. They’re going to lock you up. And you will be locked up forever.” Up until this particular moment in 1982, I had nightmare images of the fate my mother seemed to want for me.

Now, it was my reality, and would be until such time as the United States Army decided they were through with me.

I was in Wuerzburg Army Hospital, in Wuerzburg, Germany, a patient in the Psychiatric Ward. The hospital had the worn, Gothic look of the buildings I’d become familiar with first as an Army brat in Germany, and later as a soldier in the Army myself. Just add gargoyles, and the place would have taken on an even more sinister air, something out of Victorian England.

I’d basically fallen apart. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about where I was, what I was doing, or what they were doing to me. I remember seeing one soldier strapped to his bed, in a three point restraint, his brain so burnt on angel dust, he screamed until all I heard from him was a hoarse whisper, almost a hissing from his voice box. A few days later, he had no memory of what had happened.

I remembered.

I remembered every smell, every sound, every sensation. I remember the feeling of the needle, as they pumped Thorazine into my body. I remember the bland, almost fetid taste of the food, and the constant blood draws, and urine tests. I remember writing essays, and waking in the middle of the night, as hospital staff took my papers, copied them, then returned them, hoping I wouldn’t notice. I remember this well.

I would sit in the ward, which was at the top floor of the building, watching the streets under the gray skies in Wuerzburg. I watched as people walked, arm in arm, looking, pointing, and dreamed of being able to leave the building and go where I chose, and do what it was I chose. I could see young German couples, holding hands, kissing, laughing, all under October’s gray, and waiting until I could see my wife again, usually at night, with my young son in tow.

I didn’t know that within months, we’d be separated, and I’d be on my own. That I’d be alone. That my mother would take this as a sort of triumph, crowing about this until I finally cut her off from me.

I would sit there in the darkened room, watching the horizon, waiting for the sunlight to burn off the gray, blue skies cutting through the gloom, and ultimately, breaking the dismal spell of the place. It would happen occasionally, but not too often. And I would go to bed, dreaming of those moments of bright sunlight.

I remember this too well.

I remember the Haldol I had to take, the Lithium they later prescribed, the Thorazine I had injected into my ass, and some of the weird side effects from all of it. There was the time I had my jaw snapping hard to the right, and I couldn’t get it to stop. I would lie in the bed, and suddenly, my jaw would jut hard over, and it would ache. I was grinding my teeth through this, and felt them biting down on my tongue. Another injection, and it would stop.

I remember the Doctor, who I saw maybe twice, who sat there and told me, “You look like a million bucks!” sounding for all the world like a Billy Crystal creation, even as I sat there in my military issue blue pajamas, soiling my pants, the spittle running down my chin, asking him, “Help me…”

They weren’t there to help me.

They were there to control me.

I remember.

“What do you mean, you’re not working Saturday?” the dispatcher demanded.

“I told you a few weeks ago, Peggy and I were going out of town. We need time away from this dump.”

“Fine,” the boss snapped. “Give it to another driver. There’s guys who don’t mind earning a living on a Saturday.”

I shot the boss a look. He’d already let me know what he thought of our domestic relationships. In his opinion, Peggy needed to “Get off her f***ing, g**damn ass, and get a g**damn, f***ing job!” (It’s nice having an employer who’s ambidextrous when it comes to vulgarity.) It didn’t matter to the boss that my bride stayed at home, making sure our home schooled kids were doing their assignments, or making it to class, or anything else like that. But, hell, I learned early on that the boss didn’t have any regard for anyone beyond himself. It explained the lack of benefits, the lack of a steady paycheck, the lack of anything that would have made the job worth doing. Paid, as we were, on a percentage basis, (a slightly less glorified version of “commission”), you realized early on that there was no way that you could figure out what the hell you’d be paid three weeks later. (For that matter, you would only get 65% of what you were owed, with the remaining 35% paid the next week, assuming they got the information to the leasing company in time. Needless to say, the first word in this game was “cluster…”)

But we needed to get out. Sacramento was starting to close in around us, and we were feeling claustrophobic.

I headed towards the door, paycheck in hand.

“Tell her,” the boss shot back to me, “to have a nice f***ing life!”

“She will. With me.” I left.

I told Peggy about what had happened, and she shook her head. “We have got to get you out of there. This job is going to kill you.”

“That’s kind of what I figured, but at this point, we need all the income we can get.”

“I need YOU,” she insisted. “I’m not ready to be a widow. They work you over the legal limit, then demand you play games with your logbook. They aren’t the ones who will pay the fines. You are.”

I nodded, knowing I couldn’t argue with her, and took a shower. The next day, we’d be out of town, and away from all this. Our time would, at least for a couple of day, be ours.

We went to dinner that night, a little restaurant called Buonarrotti’s. We’d never eaten there before, but somehow, Italian sounded nice. Genuine comfort food. We chugged our little aging Subaru out towards Rocklin, and settled in to plan our trip. I can’t say it was the best night we’d ever had at a restaurant; the cook gashed himself in the kitchen, the restaurant owner dropped Peggy’s dinner, and what remained of his kitchen staff was about to toss the owner out so they might actually get some work done.

Still, the owner was cheerful about it, everyone was willing to work with us, and all in all, we had to admit, dinner that night was pretty good. Even if everything went wrong, I felt like I ought to go back. Frankly, if you can have a good time anyplace when everything is going wrong, that’s a place to return to. It’s just like home.

Still, we had a trip to plan. We decided we’d head out towards the coast. That was all we knew. Beyond that, we guessed we could either go North, or we could go South. (Choice is good.) We wanted to avoid San Francisco, and it’s insane rush of traffic. What we wanted was to find something that was beyond what we’d been told to expect.

By the next morning, with our bag packed, we struck out, following the road west towards Highway 1, and from there, north to Bodega Bay. I’d never been there; my parents had been up this way once, but we were told it was out of reach for us. If nothing else, Peggy and I felt we could at least lay claim to having made the journey, what others thought be damned.

To be honest, I was surprised by our little Subie. Its engine was losing compression in the number 3 cylinder, and the clutch was in need of work, but still, it kept on chugging along. Even as I realized we’d have to sell the little car, I felt sorry for it, knowing it would ultimately wind up being scrapped. Having been a discard most of my life, I found myself sympathetic to the car.

I glanced at Peggy as we took a hill, approaching the coast. Okay, we weren’t fashion plates, and never would be, but she’s still one of the sexiest women I know, even if my brother, my sister, and my mother kept telling me how unattractive Peggy was. My mother had insisted we abort both our boys when Peggy was pregnant with them. Even our pets were “rejects,” with Rosie, our dog, being a survivor from the pound, and Gabby, our cat, nearly having been put down because he’d grown up and was no longer “cute.” (Some people simply should not have pets.) We joked often about how we were the family that no one wanted. Only, the joke really wasn’t that funny. When they say the truth hurts, this is part of what they mean.

By the time we rolled into Bodega Bay, I’d actually, physically, begun to feel the stress slip from me. My neck began to ease, the dull throb in my temples had started to fade, even my arms stopped aching. There was a softness to both the sunlight, and to the air around us. Around the area were trees and the coastal range, while out in the bay, there were fishing boats tied up, along with a few sailboats and even an older Chris Craft or two. Perhaps, I thought for a moment, this was an entirely different place than where I’d come from.

Well, maybe not. We stopped in at the local visitor’s center, only to hear from one of the staffers that there probably wasn’t a place that people like Peggy and I would be able to afford, or that we’d like. (Translation: You look too poor and too seedy to fit into a place like this.)

Right. It always comes down to something like this. Once more, I get second best. I was about to walk out. I can be insulted at home, for a whole lot less in green.

At that moment, though, the manager poked his head into the office. “How about the Superintendent’s House?” http://www.sterba.com/river/super/

“Where’s that?” I asked.

“Just up the road in Duncan’s Mills,” he answered. “It’s a bed and breakfast. It’s not too expensive, and you might like it. Take a look.”

“Thanks,” I answered, “I will.”

I checked a map on the wall, then walked back to the car. Moments later, Peggy and I were headed North on Highway 1, driving towards Duncan’s Mills.

We had Enya on the stereo, which seemed appropriate. Even over the drone of the Subaru’s engine, and the dreamlike melodies over the car’s speakers, I could hear the ocean waves as they rolled onto the shore, and could smell the sweet salt air over the odor of engine oil and old tobacco that we‘d never gotten out of the car‘s interior.

“Honey, why don’t we stop?” Peggy asked.

I saw no reason not to.

I pulled the car over into a parking lot, one of the profusion of scenic overlooks that seem to line the Pacific in this area, and shut it off, leaving the only sound beyond the ocean that of the cry of seagulls, and the ticking of the cooling engine. We sat for several minutes, holding hands, watching the waves, finally exiting the car and walking to the fence line. Warnings were posted, asking that we not walk on the beach, because of endangered, nesting shorebirds, so we stood on the bluffs overlooking the ocean, watching.

It was beautiful, seeing this. In the hazy sunlight, Peggy was more beautiful than ever. Even the gray in her hair seemed to fade. I could feel years dissipate within me, the brokenness within my body easing as I watched wave after wave roll onto the shoreline. A breeze blew onto the shore, gusting once in a while, and I noted that even the scent of the ocean wasn’t overpowering. There was a gentleness to this place.

“I could make a life here,” I said at last.

Peggy nodded. “It might be tough. I don’t see too many trucks around here.”

“I know. Some of the downgrades… I’d hate to be pulling a 45 foot flatbed around here, too, with some of these curves. A 35 foot pup, maybe…”

She smiled slightly. “Maybe. There’s freight companies that run around here, I’m sure.”

No doubt, I realized. Is there anywhere that freight companies don’t operate?

I slipped my arm around Peggy. Even if she wasn’t cold, I was. I could feel the warmth from her through her sweater, and my leather jacket. “I wish sometimes… You know, if only I’d…”

“You’ve never been a disappointment to me.”

“I guess I never offered much.”

“You offered everything. You’ve given me everything you could.”

It wasn’t much at all, I had to admit.

We stayed there for several minutes. I had a desire, a hope, but no idea how to pull it together.

We returned to the road, running North again. A few minutes later, I turned right, and within 30 minutes, we were in Duncan’s Mills.

There’s not a lot to the town. There’s a pizza place, a restaurant, the Blue Heron, a small collection of specialty stores, and the Superintendent’s House. There’s also a visitor’s center and museum, though I wasn’t sure we’d be around long enough to stop in. Disappointing: for such a small town, there seemed to be a lot here. I wanted to know more.

The owner of the Superintendent’s House was out. It gave us several minutes to stroll through the town’s specialty stores, browsing through the antiques store, and then the art gallery, both of which were owned by a pair of sisters. (Not that we could miss that they were related. They were practically identical.) A gift shop offered toys I hadn’t seen since I was a kid, while an Asian boutique had silk dresses, bronze Buddhas, incense, rugs, and discs of music I’d never heard.

We picked up a few gifts for the holidays to come, a CD, and a took a few minutes to walk around and stretch. It had been too long since we’d been able to simply wander, without any encumbrance on our time.

An hour later, we chugged up to the Superintendent’s House, an older, red, Victorian house near the outside of town. The owner met us at the door. “The Visitor’s Center called, and said you were coming. I had to run to town for some groceries and stuff to fix the roof. Sorry you had to wait.”

Peggy let the owner know it was all right. He was roughly our own age, divorced, and a single father, and he’d owned the bed and breakfast for several years. If it seemed to be a lot of work, I had to admit, I envied him. He was doing something he loved, and had the time to enjoy himself as he saw fit.

We took a room on the first floor, with a King size bed. This wasn’t the Hyatt, but that didn’t matter. If anything, the hominess of the place was a luxury in and of itself. We settled in, taking a nap, reading, and doing as little as we could get away with for the next few hours. Another luxury, I suppose, just being able to do nothing. But it was our luxury.

By about 6 that night, we were ready to eat. A quick trip to the Blue Heron, arriving early, and we took the seat of our choice. It’s a quiet place, without much fanfare, though it certainly seemed to be popular with locals. It was nice to eat someplace where the food isn’t served on Styrofoam or your server isn’t wearing a funny paper hat. A change for the two of us.

It was quiet that night, and rather cool as the sun settled over the ridgeline, and it gave me time to really look around us as we sat at our table. Most of the people there were, like us, from out of town, but there were also locals out for a quiet meal out. It didn’t take long to realize that with no major industries around Duncan’s Mills, there were choices to be made. You lived in that area because you made a choice to. It required some sacrifice, I’m sure, but no more than the sacrifices I’d made to live in Sacramento.

Still, the choices were different. In the end, it was those differences that would either seal the deal, or kill it for many. If you have to have the trappings of city life, including shopping malls, clubs, the traffic and noise, then you’ll never be happy in a place like that. On the other hand, if you would rather live a quieter life, maybe this would be the way to go.

I knew there was something here for us.

A guitarist came in and began to play. Tunes I hadn’t heard in years.

A few from that time in 1982.

“Are you okay?” Peggy asked.

I nodded. “I’m just remembering things from long ago. You? You’ve been so stressed of late.”

“I’ll get better.” She sipped at a hot cup of tea, listening to the music. “I keep thinking we could do better. Maybe there’s a better job out there for you. Or maybe a better place to live. It’s too bad we couldn’t pack up the house on a trailer and haul it off somewhere. I love the house, but I could do without the neighborhood.”

“True enough,” I answered, taking a sip of beer. “There’s no major terminals here. But maybe there’s something out this way in the way of a trucking job. Somewhere.”

“We’ll find something,” Peggy answered. She reached out, taking my hand. She knew. She knew far too well. Times when my family told us, “We’re calling the state. You’re irrational. You need help.”

Sure. Help. Why was I always the one who needed help? Why was I the one who was “sick,” or “embarrassing”? I kept thinking back to a question a therapist asked me: “Why can’t you call what happened to you abuse?”

I had no answer.

I still don’t in many ways.

We ordered our dinner. Peggy went with a chicken fettuccine, while I decided to try the linguini with clams. I’d never had it before, so it seemed like a good time to give it a shot, given that we were on an adventure. Why not? There’s a first time for everything.

The guitarist continued to play. Old Broadway show tunes, pop standards from as far back as the 1920s, even a little ragtime thrown in for good measure. How do you make a living doing this in an area like this? I had to admit, I was envious as hell. I began to ache in my right wrist. I hated that I had lost my gift of music, I hated that the load had shifted, I hated the risks I took, for what amounted to a loss in the greater measure of things. I lost connections with family, I lost time with those I loved, I lost mobility, and I was losing my health. All of this for maybe, on a good day, 25% of the load’s value. I hated having to check through my paycheck, making sure I got it all. I hated the claims that I was valued as a team member, when I had to scramble to find health insurance, and struggle to make ends meet, even as other people, with less experience, who were more dangerous on the road than I was, got better loads, and better pay.

I hated being on the outside.

I hated being the kid outside the candy store, with his nose pressed to the glass, because like that kid, I knew every pit in the glazing, I knew every smudge print, I knew every mark. I wanted to be respected, even if I couldn’t be loved.

“If abortion had been safe and legal in 1959, I would have had one…”

I hated being.

Dinner was great, all things considered. In spite of my own inner haunting, I enjoyed the linguine, even as I realized I could make this at home, (though with canned clams, without the shells). Peggy and I held hands, even as we nibbled on cheesecake and a chocolate mud pie that sent my blood sugars screaming for the stratosphere just from the sight of it. We finished dinner, and strolled out to the battered Subaru, chugging back up the road to the Superintendent’s House. We had no real plans for the remainder of the night, save for sleep.

Another luxury.

Perhaps the reality of luxury is that it’s specifically not something you’re going to get, or even should expect over the course of a day. Somehow, it might be necessary, but it’s not something you’ve learned you can expect. I closed my eyes, only faint moonlight streaming in through the windows of our room, not a sound from anywhere else.

I awoke a couple of times in the night, sitting bolt upright, realizing the only sound to be heard in that quiet house was my own blood rushing through my ears, the memory of what awoke me gone from my mind the instant I opened my eyes. Perhaps that was a mercy. The only other place as quiet was Wuerzburg. Maybe that was what wakened me: memories of silence, and a faint moonlight streaming in through the glass of the windows of that upstairs ward.

Silence, save for the sound of an orderly trying to return my papers to my bedside table, and the quiet hiss of the radiators around the room. The sound of breathing from other soldiers.
Breathing. I glanced over towards Peggy. Her chest rising slowly, lowering, the sound of her breath next to me. I laid back down, and closed my eyes. I returned to sleep.

By morning, I felt better than I had in ages. No pressure to be somewhere, no loads to haul. Just possibilities ahead for a day, even if it was only for a day.

We showered and cleaned up, Peggy slipping on a comfortable old cardigan sweater her mother had knitted for her years ago, back in 1977. I pulled on my old blue work shirt, a pair of soft, black jeans, and my work boots. Somehow, they felt right. We were ready for another day on the road.

Breakfast wasn’t what I expected. The owner cooked up eggs and cheese, bacon, sausage, and served up cantaloupe, as well. I normally can’t stand cantaloupe. I’ve never been a fan of melons of any sort. But this tasted so different, so sweet, it was actually a pleasure to eat. I ate it down to the skin. “You know,” Peggy noted, “you’re not obligated to eat it if you don’t want it.”
“I know, but it was good. Maybe it’s just the location. But I almost feel I could live here forever.”

She smiled. Moments later, the owner joined us in the dining room, where Peggy and he chatted for several minutes. I just sat there, gazing into a Reader’s Digest, listening. I didn’t have much to add to the conversation, but it was great listening to the two of them. Peggy was always the one people gravitated to. I was so lucky she chose to marry me. I still wondered what she saw in a mutt like me.

We were on the road again, not long after that, rolling up Highway 1, continuing North, until we reached Fort Ross, sitting on the coast. It’s an unusual location, and it occupies an equally unusual place in California history.

Back in the late 1700s, Catherine the Great of Russia wanted to expand the Russian Empire to the new world. Part of this was establishing a fort on the California coast which would grow provisions for the Russian fur traders in Alaska, as well as being a hunter’s outpost in its own right. There were Russian soldiers and administrators who set up a camp, which eventually became Fort Ross, the Southernmost holding in Russia’s expanding frontier settlements.

It was a well armed fort with a few cannon, and muskets for not only the Russians, but the Indians who lived in the area as well. (The Indians were considered, interestingly enough, Russian citizens.) The Spanish, and later, the Mexicans, decided the Russian fort was too strong to attack, so ultimately, the Russians held on, until they decided it was too costly to maintain the fort which provided so little in provisions for the North, (not to mention that there was the impending sale of Alaska to the United States, under then-Secretary of State Seward). Ultimately, the fort was abandoned.

Yet, for a short time, the fort proved to be a place where people lived intentionally. There was no half-stepping about it. You came here to this new world, and you either stood up and took your place, or you died. Not much of a choice, but then, this was a time when you didn’t make a journey unless you had a damn good reason.

We toured through the fort, visiting the Commandant’s House, the bunkhouse, even examining the corner towers, (both of them), peering out through the windows and gun ports towards the Pacific. It was beautiful. You almost had to wonder how the Russians felt at being told they were returning to their native land, if they felt they were being asked to return to a nation that was not theirs anymore. I could relate in so many ways.
A stop at the visitor’s center, the purchase of a few items, and we were back on the road, winding through the coastal mountains, traveling through pine forests, and on our way up to a side road to take us back to Sacramento.

And I did not want to return.

We made one final stop. We paused near a vista point, and stepped out of the car one more time, walking to the fence line, watching the ocean as it rolled towards shore, as it always has, as it always will. I stood for several minutes, then closed my eyes. For several minutes, I thought about what my life could be, and what was holding me back from it.

My hands had been clenched. Now, I opened them, letting go, at least figuratively, of all the sorrow, all the hate, all the anger that was keeping me caged. The cab of a truck is more of a cell than anything else, but every cell has a door, and every door has a key. And unlike most cells, you can make a choice about whether or not you want that door open or closed.

I chose to open it.

I close my eyes at night, and I can see it. Moonlight spreading across the hood of the Kenworth, an open road ahead of me, and light shimmering across the distant trees which show up ahead. Cruise control is on, the squawker is on, and only the glow from the dash to illuminate the cab.

The change begins subtly, as the sonorous ramblings of a distant driver change, taking on a different accent. Gone is the word of the latest location of Evel Knievel, replaced by weather reports from up the coast. Someone reports on a fish catch, and there’s word of a trawler aground, and yes, someone is signing the Lloyd’s Open Form. The chatter grows, swelling the bandwidth, until I need to turn it down.

The road begins to shimmer. Asphalt begins to ripple, turning liquid, then splashing up around the fenders of the truck. The Kenworth continues to roll on, surging onward, the physics be damned.

Now, the fenders begin to flutter, to tuck below, the hood splitting neatly in half, spreading, opening, leaving an open space ahead of me, even as the engine seems to slide beneath my feet and behind me. The black liquid around me, which is rapidly expanding, splashes up, rushing against the windshield and side windows, splattering against the mirrors, dimming the lights which I know are fading away.

Moments pass. The roof of the cab evaporates, leaving me open to the splash of what I now realize is seawater, even as the blackness around me spreads. The trees are gone, and road signs inundated, the rush of water pounding against the fiberglass which is around and below me. The doors fade away, the mirrors fold up and turn, the open space which was before me is now covered with teak, save for the growth of a fiberglass hump before me, which now opens, revealing itself to be a cabin, a deck house. Faint light shines from below, which grows until I can see that there’s a galley before me.

The trailer is gone, it’s lights fading away behind me, falling away, it’s burdens with it. Now, aluminum shafts sprout from ahead of me, and they rise from the deckhouse, and from the deck, followed by a growth of canvas, and a the sound of the wind bearing in from behind.

The canvas snaps loudly, and gone is my air seat, and the buddy seat with it. I’m sitting on a canvas cushion, with my steering wheel rising from a 30 degree angle to 90. Spokes now grow from the middle to the rim, and it becomes chromes, and luminous. My speedometer fades out, and the dash loses it’s burl wood appearance. Now, it’s all businesslike plastic, waterproof, displaying my GPS position on a glowing screen, and showing I’m bearing towards the South, moving not at 55 miles an hour, but at a steady 8 knots.

The fifth wheel is gone. Above me, an expanse of stars to bright, it hurts to look, even as I try, seeking out Orion, and perhaps the Pleiades. Perhaps, in a few days, I’ll find the Southern Cross. From below, Peggy calls out that dinner is ready, even as she steps towards the door, bringing me a bottle of Red Stripe.

She hands me the ice cold bottle, and I raise it towards her.

Perhaps, I realize in this moment, I can yet find my way home.

28th December 2003, 05:31 PM
(One reply by e-mail. I didn't think it was that bad.)

29th December 2003, 06:53 AM
Just a quick comment. I think your chapter is much better starting out:
Throughout my childhood, my mother would tell me, “They’re coming for you. They’re going to lock you up. And you will be locked up forever.” Up until this particular moment in 1982, I had nightmare images of the fate my mother seemed to want for me.

Now, it was my reality, and would be until such time as the United States Army decided they were through with me.

Put the "I remember October, 1983. The antiseptic smell, the fecal odor coming from the other patients, the stench of urine…" into the chapter later on, right after the "I remember".

Hard to tell much from just reading a last chapter, but you have obviously worked on the craft and know how to write. It's not that bad.

Monketey Ghost
29th December 2003, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by Cinorjer
... It's not that bad.

Poor praise. I found it somewhat riveting, and I tend to lack appreciation for the heavily depressing.

It is, IMO, excellent work.

Girl 6
30th December 2003, 04:00 PM
Actually, I like the way that Roadtoad started this chapter. Those first 2 sentences reel you in. I don't think he should start with the other sentences from the next paragraph of "Throughout my childhood, my mother would tell me..." That's too preachy and makes me want to roll my eyes.

I'm a bit confused about what is happening, though. The writing is GREAT! But, the transitions between the different thoughts and scenes seem problematic to me. I think it would work in a screenplay, but in a book, people need more hooks before tranistioning suddenly like that.

And, Roadtoad, I'm familiar with the places that you are writing about and they are very well described and I could feel myself being there.

I hope that you don't mind that I voice my opinion here rather than in email. If you prefer my comments to be emailed to you, let me know.


NoZed Avenger
13th January 2004, 11:30 PM
Email has just been sent. Like an idiot I did not print out a copy, as I did with Chaos' so that I could bring it with me to TAM (as I got it off too late to reach anyone before they left).


Luckily, there is little to say, apart from the fact that I found it to be both powerful and compelling.