I have been struggling with the last novel in my DARK HOLLYWOOD series for nearly a year now.
I decided to try Mark Twain's remedy and start writing an entirely new novel.
Set in early WWII New Orleans, my story can tap into already researched material.
Think of it as FRINGE meets BAND OF BROTHERS.
In two days, I have written over 3000 words.
Sister Ameal slapped me aside the head and tugged me into the library with a jerk of iron fingers around my left arm. The slap had been a hard one, too. Sister Ameal was not a soft anything. Of course, Miss Mayfair saw the whole thing. I sighed. I did not have bad luck, mind you, just strange luck. It still sucked lemons.
It did make Miss Mayfair smile though, so it was not a complete loss. Her smiles were something to see. I never saw eyes so green or hair such a color … strawberry blonde I believe they called it.
Yes, I was smitten. She was not that much older than I was. Dreams, fragile things though they are, were all you had to get you through a place like St. Marok’s. There are so many fragile things when you think about it. People break so easily, and so do dreams … and hearts.
We wrap our dreams carefully deep inside us so that when they are crushed no one sees the bleeding but ourselves. And our hearts? They are the lonely graveyards for all the dreams that could have been … but weren’t. Perhaps that is why Sister Ameal seldom smiles. The weight of memory keeps the corners of her lips down.
What of me?
Once I overheard Headmaster Stearns speak of me to the last librarian:
“If you were to try and pick him out of a group of boys, you’d be wrong. He’d be the other one. Over at the side. The one your eye slipped over.”
That was all right. To be noticed at St. Marok’s was to die … not young … you aged quickly at this place ,,, but to die before you could get the hell out of here.
I don’t know why I bother telling you any of this. No one gets the emotional jolt from hearing your life story as you did living it. They hear the details, not all of course, for nothing bores a person so much as hearing the dregs of another’s hurts.
People don’t get how the death of one dream, the stinging betrayal of one hope, can color, not just one day, but a whole life. Unless it is their dream, their hope, their life.
But let me get back to Miss Mayfair’s smile. It is worth getting back to, and its memory warmed many a bleak day for me.
She smiled wider. “So, this is the young man to whom I owe my rescue?”
I shook my head. “I just pointed out that Mr. Stearns lied about you not being here, ma’am. It was your father and a few of his men that did all the heavy lifting.”
Her face flinched as if this might have been one of the first times she’d been called “ma’am.” I felt much the same way some time later when I had been called “sir.” Of course, I had been posing as someone much older. But I am getting ahead of myself. That happens a lot when you travel through time.
Some claim that I was a madman, and some think that I was just a man with very special powers. But they all miss the point. Whatever I was … and am, I changed the world … or Sentient did through me.
All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dark caverns of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was but fluff. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
I am a dangerous man … and Sentient even more so for not being a man.
Miss Mayfair obviously saw none of that as her smile warmed. “How old are you, Mr. Blaine?”
She quickly held up a long-fingered hand. “No, don’t tell me. It does not matter, for I hear Stearns held you back in school two years running for some imagined slight or other.”
I myself felt the slights were not so imagined. I could have a sharp tongue. I never lost sleep over that fact.
Her fingers became a contemplative nest for her chin. “Stearns, even Sister Ameal, say they can never recall your face once you leave them.”
She shook her head. “I do not see how that is possible. Your hair seems all colors, a grove of trees in autumn, deep brown, and wine-red.”
Miss Mayfair chucked softly, ”An untrimmed tangle across the top of your head. Your cheeks pale without being anemic. Full lips eternally in an amused smile at some jest only you hear. You look like a friend; like someone you have known all your life.”
Sister Ameal looked as uncomfortable as I felt. I was reconsidering applying for this job. Then, I reminded myself that often we don’t see things as they are, but as we are … or what our needs are.
Life is all illusion.
We simply do not have enough facts to understand life. Not really. The word “illusion” comes from the Latin “illude,” which means to mock or to deceive.
There is an optical illusion about every person we meet. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ It’s an illusion. We are all human beings.
Well, except for Sentient.
I had made it this far at St. Marok’s through luck and pluck. I was running about a quart low on pluck. And Luck was merely another illusion, trusted by the ignorant and chased by the foolish. I tried to be neither one.
It was as good a fool’s errand as any other.
What do you think of it so far?
And Yay! I sold another audio book.