So tonight, internet, cable television and phone were down for three hours.
Lots of time for writing. I got in over four thousand words tonight!
So tonight, internet, cable television and phone were down for three hours.
Lots of time for writing. I got in over four thousand words tonight!
I continue to try and find some time every day to work on my Camp NaNoWriMo project. It is a rough go at times, because I have had to contend with hot summer days with no air conditioning, a family member who has been getting regular appointments for treatment, and a lot of thinking, remembering and soul searching.
This last is because I am working on writing my memoirs. There is a lot to remember, and of course, a lot that I would prefer to forget, but is going to be written, no matter how painful or difficult it may be.
Here is the essence of my project:
“Does a friendship have to be earned, or does it just happen? Once friends, is it for life, or only until a friendship is weakened and destroyed somehow?
Can true friends hurt one another and remain friends?
Does anyone really love? Is it possible to find one person who completes another? Or is it all a wispy dream, created by romantics who never succeed but who are too dishonest to share their sad discoveries?
I was once a romantic. I gave up on that dream. I fought to hold on but it nearly caused my death. I am here. I survived. I am a cynic. I will tell you how it happened.”
The picture of the road at the top of this piece? That’s because the memoir focuses on the early 1970’s when hitch hiking was only dangerous and not deadly. Oh, how I traveled! It was an adventure.
I began to work on this project by creating a short narrative with the most important points I wished to include. That in turn, led to more detailed paragraphs, which I am now writing.
I am using Scrivener this time around. I am not familiar with all it can do, but so far the basics are working fine.
It’s really not what you may think at first. I haven’t suddenly turned to writing adult topics. Rather, I’ve been thinking today, because of my relative’s health issues, how sometimes we put off doing things, for reasons.
Reasons such as “no time” “can’t afford it” “what would people think” “I can’t” and the old standby: “someday”.
Suppose “someday” never comes? Suppose that you miss out on creating a great memory, all because there wasn’t any time to do it? How about missing a trip somewhere, because there were other things to spend money on?
Well, my analogy is this:
Now do you see why I said “Drop That Top?” Yes, a convertible. I am well aware that not all of us own one nor even want one. But. I used to know someone who drove a convertible. There were friends who refused to ride with the top down.
“It’ll mess up my hair.” “I don’t like the wind.” “It’s too cold.”
Always an excuse.
And so a lot of my friends missed out on that wild and fun ride.
Don’t be like them. Don’t be afraid to Drop That Top. Find the time, the money, the energy and the will to go out and try something new, do something surprising or daring. Be yourself but don’t be afraid to stretch your limits.
And so, as I tend to my ill relative, remember, nothing lasts forever. Take chances. You won’t regret it.
It is a big day today – Canada celebrates 150 years and it is Day One of Camp NanoWriMo. I got in a good number of words today.
This photo above has nothing to do with my post except for the fact I like it.
My family member continues to take pain meds and we will learn more about radiation treatments next week.
I have little more to say at this time. I hope that all of my readers will give their loved ones and the special people in their lives an extra hug because you just never know when it will be the last time….
Happy 150th birthday Canada! I remember the Centennial. I was 14 and attending school in central Alberta. We planted trees at school and I think – think – there was a time capsule placed, in which we wrote our ideas of what life might be like in….50 years – or perhaps it was in one hundred years. Then again, perhaps I am misremembering it all.
I have trouble putting this into words, but I feel that I must. A close family member has been diagnosed with cancer and we will not know until next week what this is going to entail.
Please bear with me as I cannot write this week.
Camp Nanowrimo begins July 1st and I have plans to begin work on my life story at that time.
Thank you for understanding.
I drove into town to have a talk with Harry. I knew he had a hard time coping with life, but I didn’t think it was an excuse to mistreat his daughter.
I pulled up and parked in the driveway, behind Harry’s beat up old Chrysler. As I approached the front door, I saw that it was ajar. Strange.
I pushed the door open all the way and called out for Harry and for Lainie. I listened. There was a sound, but I couldn’t quite place it. I stepped inside and called again.
This time, there was a nearly inaudible reply. I followed the sound, and walked into the kitchen.
Martin sat on the floor, his arms around Lainie. When she looked up I saw that she had a black eye. Martin was covered in blood.
“What the -? What’s happened here? Where’s your dad, Lainie?”
Lainie raised one arm and pointed towards the cookstove, which was half hidden by the breakfast bar. I stepped around Martin and Lainie, and saw Harry.
He was lying on his back, eyes staring sightlessly up at the ceiling. His face and chest were covered in blood. There was a butcher knife sticking out of his belly.
I reached into my shirt pocket and dialed emergency.
After I made the call, I walked back to Martin and Lainie.
“It’ll be okay. The police are on the way. Don’t worry.” I wanted to reassure them both, although I knew that nothing would be okay for them.
Martin said, “Lainie was gettin’ beat up by her dad again. I walked in on it and lost my temper. I didn’t mean to kill him. I just wanted him to stop hurting her.”
I heard sirens in the distance.
I said, “Martin, nobody in this town will blame you for what happened.”
The police arrived and burst into the house. Over the next hour or more, Lainie and Martin were led away, and Harry’s body was examined as was the crime scene. I had to explain what I’d seen and heard and then I too was escorted to the police station.
It was several hours before I was released. The officers told me that Martin would be held in jail, and that Lainie was free to go. I offered to take her home to my place. She agreed. I had to make a stop at the house, and a police officer escorted Lainie inside so that she could get some clothes and other things. When she came out, she climbed into my truck.
“All ready to go?” I asked.
Lainie nodded. She stared straight ahead as I drove off. We arrived at my cabin and we went inside. I cooked up a meal and Lainie ate. By this time, she seemed to be coming out of the daze she’d been in.
She turned to me as she buttered a slice of bread and said, “Thank you, Bert, for helping me and Martin. I was so scared.”
“It’s okay, Lainie. Of course you were scared, but you’ll be safe now. You’re welcome to stay here as long as you need to.”
Lainie thanked me and then she volunteered that she had her job at Jensen’s and had to be at work the next day. I told her to call Mrs. Jensen and tell her what had happened. I was sure she wouldn’t expect Lainie to work.
Mrs. Jensen was more than sympathetic to the situation. She had, as the whole town had, already heard about the killing. She told Lainie to take the rest of the week off, and come in for work the following Monday.
Lainie asked me if I’d drive her to Mayer’s so she could talk to Kate. I thought it might be good for Lainie to see her friend.
Kate and I and Lainie had a discussion about Lainie’s future. We agreed that Lainie should move into Kate’s place and try to continue with her life without her father.
Next, I drove over to the precinct and talked to the desk sergeant. She said that Martin was charged, but not with first degree murder, since he’d been trying to protect Lainie.
Martin’s trial was a few months later. Both Kate and Lainie sat with me as the case proceeded. Martin’s parents both testified to Martin’s kindness and gentleness and that seemed to affect the jury. At the end, Martin was given a short sentence, due to the circumstances of Harry’s death. I think that when Lainie testified about her dad’s cruelty to her, the jury felt sorry for her and even looked on Martin as a hero.
When Martin was released from prison and came back to town, he didn’t stay around very long. His parents sent him off to college. I heard that he did well there, and found that he had a gift for computer science.
I ran into Lainie and Kate one Saturday morning, when I went into town. They were walking down the street, hand in hand, and I looked askance at them, as we stopped to chat.
Lainie giggled and Kate smiled at me.
“We’re a couple, Bert. First we were roommates but then things progressed.”
“Well, good for you both. I hope life is treating you both good?”
Lainie nodded and said, “Bert, if it hadn’t been for your help that awful day, I don’t know what I would have done. I thank you.”
“And so do I,” said Kate. The girls departed, walking on down the street.
I sighed. Martin was in college, the girls were together. Maybe it was time I found someone who would want to share my cabin. There must be some woman out there who’d like living in the country. Maybe I’d sign up on one of those dating services.
I walked into Mayer’s later that morning, shopping done, and had coffee. Mrs. Mayer convinced me to have a slice of lemon pie, and I ate, while I registered on a dating service with my cell phone.
Who knew what tomorrow might bring? Even for an old guy like me. I rubbed my chin and thought maybe I’d shave off my beard. It was time I started looking a little less like a mountain man.
Okay, so I admit I rushed through the story this week. All for a good cause though.
I wanted to have it finished up before Camp NaNoWriMo which starts again July first.
The story was created as I went along, not planned out, and the chapters show that unfortunately. But, there is something to be said for just writing without too much of a plan. Sometimes the characters take over and do what they wish to do, unruly people.
Hope that you enjoyed what was written. If I do this again, I will plan somewhat better so that the story is chronological and more time is devoted to development.
If you are planning an audio book, I highly recommend
He is doing my short story collection and I am happy with his work.
Again, I am not receiving any remuneration for this suggestion. Just happy to help other writers out.
I have been working on making my published book of short stories into an audio book.
Now that Amazon supports audio books for countries besides the USA, I jumped at the opportunity!
One can audition potential readers. I’ve chosen someone and the audio book should be out in early July.
But….I also needed an audio book cover. The specifics of this cover are very detailed, and I needed someone who could fulfill the requirements.
For those of you who have no knowledge of Fiverr
I highly recommend it.
I received several offers to create the cover.
I chose maru_vdv
and I am very pleased with her work.
Should you need a cover or some other graphic design done, she can do it!
I am not receiving any remuneration for this recommendation.
I just want to help anyone who is looking for a good designer.
I’ll be posting another chapter in the story soon.
When I learned that Lainie had got the job at Jensen’s Hardware, part of me was happy and part of me was sad. I’d really wanted that job. I left my house that day, and ran into Kate. Well, I didn’t run into to her literally, of course. I knew that she’d be at Mayer’s after lunch. Her shift usually ran either eight o’clock in the morning to four in the afternoon or noon to eight at night. She was there and she siddled up to me and winked. I winked back. We had a good friendship I thought. And she was one of the few kids in school who had never made fun of me. God knows, there were enough of them that did.
“Hey, Martin. What can I get you?”
“How about a cheeseburger and an orange soda?”
“Sure, right away.” She walked towards the back and I watched her. I was half torn between my love for Lainie and a strong attraction to Kate. The girls were so different, I decided I was just weird to find them both attractive. It didn’t occur to me that maybe my thoughts were normal for a guy my age. I was used to finding fault with myself, mostly because of the dyslexia and the teasing I’d got all through school.
Kate brought me my food. I told her that Lainie had got a job at Jensen’s.
“Well, good for her! Give her something for herself, instead of looking after her old man all the time.” As she spoke, Kate lowered her voice and tossed her head towards the back of the restaurant. I saw why as soon as I checked out the room. Lainie’s dad was at a booth with three of his cronies.
The place got busy for a while, and Kate and Mrs. Mayer rushed around, serving customers and cleaning tables.
Then, Mrs. Mayer approached my table. She sat down across from me.
“How are your folks, Martin?”
“They’re doing good, Mrs. Mayer. Mom won at whist the other night.”
Mrs. Mayer smiled at me. She said, “I’m glad to hear that. Her and I have had some bad luck at that game. Too bad I missed that. I was working that night.”
She hesitated, and then spoke again.
“Martin, have you given any thought to what you want to do until college? Are you interested in working?”
“I sure am, Mrs. Mayer. Do you know of some job?”
“As a matter of fact, yes. I need someone to work here, cleaning tables and dishwashing. Would you be interested in that?”
“I sure would! When can I start?”
Mrs. Mayer laughed.
“I’m glad to see that you’re enthusiastic. How about tomorrow, from noon to eight?”
“Sure. I’ll be here. Thank you, Mrs. Mayer.”
She took her leave then, and I finished my meal. I was happy. This was just what I needed. Now both Lainie and I had jobs, and maybe the three of us would make it to that party on Friday night.
I sauntered home, and my mom and dad were delighted when I told them my news.
I worked, then for a couple of days and then it was Friday. Kate picked up Lainie and I in her new car. It was an older model, but nice to look at. It was red, and as she drove us to the party, Kate said she’d mostly chosen the car because of the color, although her dad had also given her the go ahead when he checked out the mechanics.
Now, we arrived in the parking lot of Stevenson Park, named after the town’s first mayor.
There were a lot of other vehicles there already. Lainie picked up the case of beer we’d brought and I took it from her.
“I’ll be gentlemanly and carry this,” I said.
“Thanks, Martin, but we all know you just want to drink more than us,” said Kate. She grinned so I didn’t feel bad about what she said. Besides, to tell the truth she was right. We were all old enough to drink in our state, and I didn’t mind knocking back a few. I knew that Lainie would have one can at most, while Kate could drink me under the table if she was encouraged.
Joking and chatting, we made our way down the path to the lake. There were about thirty people there already. There were quite a few people gathered around a campfire and some of them were toasting marshmallows or roasting wieners.
Kate excused herself and went off to talk to some of the other girls, while Lainie and I found a seat on a fallen log just out of the way of the fire and its smoke. I opened the case of beer and handed her one, taking one for myself. We each took a sip and smiled at each other. She congratulated me on the new job and I asked her how the work at Jensen’s was going.
Her eyes sparkled, as she said, “Oh, Martin! It’s the best thing to happen to me ever. I love working there. I just wish my dad was pleased. Seems like nothing I do ever makes him proud of me though.”
Kate returned and I had time to hand her a can of beer, before I was grabbed from behind and pulled off the log.
I landed on my butt, and there was laughter. I turned to look as I got up, and saw Jordan, Jeff and Mark. All three were laughing.
As I attempted to stand up, Mark pushed me back down. I spilled my beer.
Jeff said, “Ha, look, Martin can’t hold his beer.” The three of them laughed uproariously at that.
I got to my feet, minus the beer and swung at Jeff. Jeff dodged me, stepping back, and I swung at air. Jordan said, “C’mon guys, let’s go find somebody else to pick on. He’s already lost the beer.”
“No way. I think Martin wants to fight. Do you wanna fight, Martin?” This from Jeff. He loomed over me, a good six inches taller than me.
I swung at his chin. I missed. Jeff swung his arm and it connected with my shoulder. Then he pummeled my chest and then my stomach. I dropped to one knee.
“C’mon guys. Enough.” That was Jordan again. This time the other two listened and they made off towards the fire.
Lainie was crying as she grasped my arm and Kate, taking the other arm helped me stand. “Oh, Martin, I am so sorry,” said Lainie.
“Not your fault,” I said, from behind a fat lip. I wiped at my mouth and my hand came away, bloody.
Kate opened her pocket book and took out a tissue. She handed it to me, and I pressed it against my mouth.
“Let’s get out of here,” she said. “We’ll go back to my place.”
That’s what we did. Lainie and Kate were both shaken up by what had happened, but not me. This was something that had happened to me before, always those three guys, although sometimes there were others. School had been miserable for me because of it.
We had a good time playing video games and finishing the beer.
Kate and Lainie told me that Lainie was going to move in with Kate.
“Say, that’s great. I can see both of you in one shot,” I said somberly.
I don’t know why, but both girls burst into giggles at that. Then I saw the time and I told them I better get going. We said our good byes, and I walked Lainie home and went home myself.
I was depressed for part of the walk, after I saw Lainie to her door. I mulled over the beating I’d got and wondered for the thousandth time just why it was I seemed so likely to attract the bullies in life. Then I started to think about my job at Mayer’s. That was a good thought. It made me smile, and by the time I reached my house I was grinning. Mom and dad were still up, watching a horror movie. I joined them for a while, and then went to bed.
As I fell asleep, I wondered if Lainie’s dad had given her any trouble when she got home. Maybe I should have stayed around for a bit. Little did I know what was brewing at her place.
Well, Martin was the main speaker this week. I wonder what’s going on at Lainie’s? I don’t trust that dad of hers at all.
It is a very good thing I read this chapter over before I posted. I had some names all confused and that would have been even more confusing to you, the Reader. All fixed, though – I think.
I didn’t last at Bert’s and like you’ve read, I had him bring me back to my dad’s place.
The day after Martin and I went out to Mayer’s, I braided my hair into a neat plait, and looked through my small closet. I found the black dress I’d worn for Mom’s funeral. That would do. I’d wear it and put on the little gold and pearl chain she’d given me for that last birthday before she died.
I slipped on a pair of flats and I was ready to go. The day was sunny and nearly warm. The walk took a while, as I met up with some of the other neighbors, as they did their yard work, and everyone wanted to chat. I didn’t mind. I thought that my second choice for a job would be at the Golden Age Home. I liked my elderly neighbors.
I got to the hardware store just after nine o’clock. I stepped in and the bell above the door announced my arrival.
Mrs. Jensen, in a bright red shirt that was emblazoned with “Jensen’s Hardware” across the pocket, greeted me.
“Well, Lainie, I see that you took my advice. You look very professional. Now, how about filling out an application?”
“Yes, please,” I said.
Mrs. Jensen walked up to the counter and reached behind, bringing out a sheet of paper.
“You can go into the staff room in back and fill this out. Bring it up to me when you’re done.”
I nodded and took the paper from her hand. I walked to the back of the store and peeked around the corner. There was a small room with a table and chairs, coffee pot and a small fridge.
I sat down at the table and looked over the application form. It was simple enough, asking for my name and address. I stopped when I got to the next line, though.
Experience? What could I fill in there, I wondered. I’d done housework for my parents and for Bert. That was about it.
I wrote it in and then jotted down my reasons for applying. I left out the part about my dad telling me I was useless, though.
I stood up, gathered my pocketbook and the paper, and went back up to where Mrs. Jensen stood. She took the sheet and looked it over. She glanced at me and then she smiled.
“Good work, Lainie. You’re hired. Can you start this afternoon? I’ll give you some company shirts and you can wear your jeans.”
“I’d love to. Oh, thank you so much!”
“Now, don’t get too excited. It’s not a job that pays a lot, you know. And you’re on probation for the first ninety days.”
“That’s not a problem. I amjust so happy that you’ve given me this chance!”
Mrs. Jensen smiled and I left the shop. I felt like I was walking on air all the way back to the house. I changed into one of the shirts that she’d given me, and a pair of jeans.
Dad arrived home just as I was about to leave for work.
“What’re you wearing that shirt for? Where’d you get it?”
“I just got a job at the hardware store, dad.”
“We’ll see how long that lasts before you make some mistake and they fire you.”
Tears filled my eyes, but I refused to let him see. I grabbed my backpack and left the house. I would be early for work, but that was better than late, and I didn’t want to stick around and have dad berate me any more.
I spent that afternoon learning what was stocked and where. Mrs. Jensen showed me how to ring up sales on the cash register. She patted my shoulder after I served my first customer.
“Good for you, Lainie. You were polite and helpful.”
I beamed at her words. Maybe this job would work out for me.
When I got back to the house after work, Dad told me to get him a beer as usual and I made supper. It was a good meal and I was proud of my cooking abilities, but Dad said, as he sat down at the table, “What kind of crap is this? Salad? Are you tryin’ to put me on some kinda diet now?”
“Dad, it’s the first course. I’ve got steak and potato pie next.”
He harrumphed and ate. He ate it all up and still complained at me between bites.
“Real men don’t eat salad. That’s some kind of city stuff. Don’t bother making that again, eh?”
I agreed with him just to keep the peace. I trembled as I washed the dishes after the meal. I tried not to cry. I told myself that I was a big girl, and didn’t need his approval. Besides, I was never going to get it, no matter what I did or what I tried.
He left for Mayer’s after that.
I went upstairs and into my room. I read a few pages in Moby Dick. My phone rang. It was Kate. We chatted a bit and I told her about my new job.
“Good for you, Lainie! Say, are you interested in sharing my apartment? I could use a room mate to help with the bills. And I know how things are between you and your dad.”
I was overcome with excitement.
“Kate, do you mean it? I’d love that.”
“Great! Let’s meet for coffee tomorrow at Mayer’s. I’m off that day. What hours do you work tomorrow?”
I told her and we agreed to meet up for a discussion of our plans around six o’clock. I was so happy I had trouble sleeping that night. This was going to be my successful move out of the house. I’d get away from my dad, and start a new chapter in my life. One where I was in control and not under my dad’s thumb all the time.
When I fell asleep at last, I dreamed of a huge mansion, and Kate and I were living there, serving coffee to customers who wore red shirts and carried fishing poles and power drills.
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