As a thank you for all the support and all the time spent reading this blog, I’d like to offer up a small sample from the project I am currently working on, entitled MOODY BLUE. It’s about a young man whose fiancée’s life is cut short, and how that impacts him and his other relationships. The tragedy also forces him to confront brutal and ugly truths he’d been hiding and running from.
Enjoy, and as always, PLEASE let me know what you think.
Melissa was disturbed by the lack of human interaction. Hell, Adam only talked to her when it became absolutely necessary, and those occasions were becoming rarer and rarer. She worried that the viewing and funeral would be too much, debacles, spectacles, horrible memories Adam would never be able to recover from. When the day of the viewing dawned, uncomfortably warm and overcast, she rose silently and began to make coffee in the kitchen. As she scooped dark grinds from one receptacle to another, she noticed her hands were trembling. She dropped the stupid, little, plastic scooper and brought her hands together, determined to make them stop. After all, why should she tremble? It was not her fiancée being mourned and then buried. It was not her life being upended. Why should she shake? She gave herself a moment to stuff down her sorrow at Lily’s passing, which seemed nonsensical and illogical. Could it be that all this grief was for her brother? That didn’t seem quite right, either. Was she marveling at the inevitability of her own mortality? She supposed that could be true, but truth be told, Melissa was not one for deep thoughts. When it came to life and death and all that, it was what it was and that was that. Melissa mentally repeated that mantra and bent to retrieve the scooper. For the time being, she was back to normal and set about to keep things as normal as possible for Adam, especially on the day of Lily’s viewing.
Melissa gave Adam another twenty minutes of sleep, of blissful unconsciousness, as she enjoyed the solitude of and the absence of emotional turmoil in the empty kitchen. She generously filled her mug with fresh, steaming coffee and slowly sipped from it. The moment was peaceful, but neither it nor the caffeine would be enough to carry her through the day. She anticipated needing something much stronger, and that need became especially poignant as she rose from the table to rouse Adam, the undisputed but unexpected second victim of Lily’s selfish and heinous act.
Melissa’s slippers scuffed down the hallway. She always hesitated now outside Adam’s bedroom door to steel herself against the horrible possibility that she would find Adam dead, driven to suicide from grief over Lily’s suicide. Suddenly, Melissa hated Lily, was glad Lily was gone, and wished that Lily had never existed at all. The cruelty and savage nature of her own thoughts surprised and bothered Melissa, as did the nagging and reluctant admission that it was not the first time such brutal thoughts about Lily had crossed her mind. She shook her head to clear it. She chided herself for being superstitious and silly. She knocked on Adam’s bedroom door.
“Come in,” he said. The response was certain and immediate. Melissa was sure Adam had been expecting just such a wakeup call, and that expectation explained his preparation, explained the immediacy of the response. As Melissa opened the door, Adam was revealed to her, sitting on the edge of the bed nearest the door. His feet rested upon the floor and his elbows pointedly dug into his thighs from the weight and effort of cradling his poor head, cradled by lined, shaky hands. It was a pitiful sight to behold, what with Adam’s red-rimmed eyes and their vacant glare that cleverly pointed in the appropriate direction, but did nothing more than emptily roam over the area. Adam looked, but he did not see. Melissa saw that he looked like hell, and was now fairly certain that Adam had been prepared for her intrusion not because it was expected, but because simply, Adam had not slept. By the looks of him, it was hard to tell when the last time he slept was, but it certainly had not been within the last day or two.
I must admit that I have been feeling incredibly uninspired as of late. Not only have I utterly and completely fallen off the wagon as it pertains to dieting and exercising, but I have not written anything creative in quite some time. My journal is filled with entries in which I complain about my shortcomings and nothing more. It is a disappointment and again, I berate myself for having nothing to write about because I have not done anything worth writing about. There has been no chance encounter, no startling image, no overheard turn of phrase to fire up my neurons and facilitate some kind of epic brainstorming session.
Then again, that might not be entirely true. The other day, as Dad and I were getting ready to watch “The Following,” (which is an excellent show on FOX starring Kevin Bacon that I am thoroughly obsessed with now) he was making himself a sandwich. As he reached for the loaf of bread in its plastic bag in a drawer beneath the meat slicer, I noticed an unpleasant look of disgust smear itself across his face. He picked up the bag with what seemed like intolerable reluctance and hurried to place it on the kitchen table, looking at his hands in disbelief. Naturally, I asked him what was the matter, and he told me the bag was wet. Intrigued, I removed myself from reclining upon the couch in the living room to investigate. None of the other bags bread, bagels, and rolls was wet. As a matter of fact, I did not notice anything peculiar or out of place about the bread drawer. I looked at Dad and shrugged before moving to examine the bag in question. The top of the bag, near the tie that closed it back up, was wet and there were tiny, red dots of moisture both on the inside and the outside. I was completely baffled and asked Dad what he thought it was. He brought a hand to his face and sniffed. His face went pale and he told me plainly and simply that it was blood. Then, betraying his flair for the dramatic, he told me it smelled like “dead blood.” While it took both my father and I all of ten seconds to figure out that while Mom had been slicing roast beef in her brand new meat slicer, some blood had dripped onto this particular bag of bread and that nothing sinister nor truly creepy had occurred, regardless of how gross it was, I thought it was a great scene to manipulate, twist and dramatize and use.
Similarly, I had a totally bizarre dream the other night. The details have faded and in all honestly, the dream was more like a few weeks ago than “just the other night,” but the main image has resonated and stayed put. It was a royal blue beetle of large proportions, and with legs made of pink, plastic straws, crawling across the face of a female. The beetle began small, walking in meandering lines across the face and out of view. But when the female stranger turned to face me once more, the bug had suddenly become huge and covered a quarter of her face. It seemed so genuine and real, that I wondered if I wasn’t hallucinating more than dreaming. Thinking of hallucinations had me thinking of one of my ideas for my next novel, one involving a man on lithium and I wondered if I couldn’t somehow forge a connection between the two. I suppose it would be fairer for me to say that there has been inspiration, but I have been too lazy to utilize it. I need to be motivated and I promise to you that I am working on it.
I am reading two novels currently (one I kind of hate but have to finish now that I’ve started, but the other is absolutely fabulous) and cannot stop listening to the soundtrack for the upcoming movie “The Great Gatsby.” My obsession has reached new heights, actually, and is not restricted to the compulsive, repetitive playing of the soundtrack. When I visited BookTowne in Manasquan to try and set up an event, I ended up dropping off contact information and buying a t-shirt.
I cannot remember which author it was, but rumor has it that a contemporary novelist would type out The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald whenever he had writer’s block to cure himself of it. I am curious as to whether or not I shouldn’t give it a shot.
I recently ordered a photography book by Eric Meola which features Bruce Springsteen from the year 1977 to the year 1979. Perusing the photographs and reading the lyrics and essays which accompany them, I did feel a creative sort of tingle and briefly pondered returning to the idea for my next novel which was entirely inspired by the Boss.
I am going up to Bloomfield this afternoon for drinks with some friends from college. I am going to catch up with some of the most wonderful and beautiful women I have had the privilege and pleasure of knowing, but also, selfishly, to perhaps be inspired. Perhaps something will happen along the way; why knows? I suppose the point is that no one knows, and that therein lays the point. A very wise colleague of mine, who is unfortunately retiring at the end of the academic year, encouraged me to take risks and I am proud to say I have taken that advice to heart.