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Unread 05-18-2014, 07:39 PM   #1
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Untitled Novel Snippet

Here are the first two pages of a thing that I am currently working on.


One


I am going home and the very thought of it terrifies me. Just saying the word “home” causes my stomach to knot up. I turned forty-four years old last month. I am a professional songwriter and by the world's standards, I am fairly successful. I have made enough money to pay off the mortgage on my house in just under ten years and I currently have no debt. I am not rich but I honestly don't have to worry about money. I drive a brand new Lincoln Mark X that I paid cash for. Yeah, I know it's not a Maserati or anything exotic...but I like it and it is mine. Truth is, most people look at me and assume that I have it all together. The few friends I have in the business think I am the most well adjusted person they've ever met. I don't have a drug or alcohol problem. I do like to have a beer every now and then and I love cigars, but those are my only true vices. Like I said, folks think I have it made. However, just the idea of stepping back into the house that I was raised in makes me want to curl up in the corner.

I haven't been home on over twenty years. In fact, it has been twenty-three years...almost to the day. The last time I was there was the day they buried my father. That was in 1991, about a week before I graduated from East Carolina University. I was playing in a band back then and we were doing well playing the regional college circuit. We were doing gigs with bands like The Connells, Dillon Fence, and a group that would later go on to surpass us all. They were a little band out of South Carolina called Hootie & The Blowfish. There were cool guys and always fun to hang out with but I never thought they would make it beyond the frat party gigs. I guess most people would have thought the same about me but that's neither here nor there.

My father's name was Richard Creed and although I didn't hate him...there was no love lost between the two of us. We got along well when I was younger but that fizzled out when I stopped playing baseball and picked up my first guitar at the age of twelve. It's not that I didn't enjoy playing ball but after discovering music, it wasn't the same. It was fun to get out in the yard and play catch with him and I loved it. But...he stopped doing that when he realized that I wasn't going to keep playing on a team. He said it was a waste of time if I wasn't going to take it seriously. That's when I retreated to my room and the music became my life.

Dad...it's funny calling him that...never expressed any interest in my music. He liked to listen to Southern Gospel and didn't care much for any other styles. I was shocked to learn that he had once sung in a quartet before I was born. He had been the lead vocalist and by all accounts he was pretty good. They went around singing at churches, trying to save up enough money to go into a studio and record an album. I was born during that time and he had to take on a second job to make ends meet. He didn't have the time to continue singing so he left the group. About a year after he quit they finished an album and actually got a song on the Gospel charts. He never said so, but I think he always resented me for killing his dream.

His other dream had been to play professional baseball. He had a roomful of trophies and awards that he had won during high school. He was an All Star at the state level and was courting several colleges when he was in an accident during his senior year. He had been working on his father's farm, hoisting hay bales up into the top of the barn. The pulley jammed up and he climbed out to untangle the rope. Something in the mechanism snapped and when it did he plunged to the ground like a stone. He fractured his right shoulder and broke his right arm in three places. He never played again.

I think he saw a chance to live out that dream through me. I started playing when I was ten and was better than the majority of the kids I played against. And like I said earlier, I really enjoyed playing...until the music came. After experiencing that...baseball was just another silly game. I can remember the day I told my father that I didn't want to play anymore. I can still see the look of disappointment in his eyes. At the risk of being melodramatic, it was as if someone had cut the light out. He made two or three half halfhearted attempts to get me to reconsider but I think he knew that there was no point. I literally threw my glove and bat out in a box in the garage the day I brought home the guitar. It may seem like an exaggeration but he didn't speak much to me again after that. Outside of the typical parent-child conversations that we all have, he didn't seem to have any interest in my life at all. I really do believe that I had let him down.

Fortunately, he had another son. Peter is my younger brother. He's two years my junior. We were pretty close up until I started playing guitar. He was ten at the time and decided that he wanted to play football. Our father helped start up a community flag football league just so Peter could play. Needless to say, they soon bonded and I was able to stay sequestered in my room without any threat of being disturbed for the next six years. It may sound as if I am bitter and resentful but it is important for people to know that I did love my father. In the beginning I was angry at him but that soon turned into pity. I felt sorry for him. He had seen both of his dreams slip away and I honestly understood how he could be disappointed with me. That didn't make it any easier to swallow...but it kept me from hating him.

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Unread 05-24-2014, 07:40 AM   #2
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Unread 05-24-2014, 06:50 PM   #3
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Unread 05-24-2014, 08:07 PM   #4
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Unread 05-26-2014, 10:21 AM   #5
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I am working on it slowly...but I promise I'll post the next bit as soon as it is finished.
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Unread 05-30-2014, 06:13 AM   #6
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You asked for it.

Just keep in mind...I'm still writing this and I don't get to it everyday.




My relationship with my mother is much more complicated. Mom still lives in the house that I grew up in. That is probably why I am so antsy about going back. I know what I am going to find. The place will look exactly like it did the day I left. It will be a virtual museum dedicated the childhood that I have spent so much time trying to put behind me. Mom is just that way. She always has been. I graduated from high school in 1987 and the furniture that was in the living room had been there since I was ten years old. It was still there in 1991 when my father died and unless Mom has turned over a new leaf, I am guessing that it is still there.

I can still see every single piece. There are the three matching tables; two end tables and a coffee table. They are a nice, deep brown wood (mahogany maybe?) and they have black slate inserts in the middle. They are heavy as crap and I know because I used to have to move them when we were vacuuming the living room. The two end tables have matching lamps. They have dark green blown glass bases and off white shades that still have the plastic on them. They are really cool looking and I always imagined myself inheriting them one day.

In between the two end tables is a monstrous brown leather couch with wooden (mahogany again?) claw feet. It replaced a gaudy orange paisley sleeper sofa that had been around since before I was born. Mom did get insane over the couch. You did not eat, drink, sleep, or do anything remotely fun on the sofa. I knew she was serious so I never tested her to see what might happen if we abused it. It still looked brand new the day I moved out to go to college.

An antique wooden rocking chair is sitting next to the upright piano opposite the couch. It had been Mom's grandmother's and it was even more cherished than the leather couch. I probably haven't sat in that rocker more than three or four times in my entire life. You would think that it was holy and consecrated, like the furnishings in Solomon's Temple.

Two upholstered wing-backed chairs sit in the corners of the front wall. They are relatively plain. They are a shade of green somewhat lighter than the lamps, but close enough to match. Hand-stitched quilts (handed down from my great-grandmother) hang over the back of each one. A wooden bench sits in front of the picture window in between them. Assorted pillows are propped up on the bench, arranged by sizes in descending order.

A massive Zenith console television sits against the wall opposite the picture window. There is a moderately priced stereo (purchased Christmas 1981 from the Sears catalog) sitting on top. It features a turntable, AM/FM radio, 8-Track player and a top mounted cassette player/recorder. A VCR (purchased the year I graduated) is sitting next to the stereo. A wooden cabinet about four feet high sits on the floor next to the television. Swing the doors open and you'll find all the albums and tapes...well...all the ones I didn't take with me when I left.

None of the furniture moved (other than on cleaning day) the entire time I lived at home. The one exception was the wooden bench in front of the window. It disappeared into my parents' bedroom the Saturday after Thanksgiving so the Christmas tree could go up. It returned promptly the Saturday after New Year's Day. Every single year. All of the furniture was just as I described it when I was there in 1991 and as I said, I expect to find it the same in two days when I'm there again.

I guess that Mom is one of those people who feels the need to maintain some sort of consistency. If things stray too far outside of the bounds of normalcy, she really gets uptight. She doesn't get mean or ugly about it but you can tell that it truly bothers her. It's not like she's a control freak either, she was always pretty laid back. However, she has to have things fit into their perspective places. I'm pretty sure that she has a moderate case of OCD. It doesn't drive her into fits when things aren't the way she thinks they should be, but it does make her uncomfortable. The arrangement of the living room should be ample proof of that.

Mom was the one who bought me the guitar when I was ten. It's funny, that was the same year that she bought the furniture. Now that I think about it, we spent a lot of money that year. My father bought a new car that year. Mom got the furniture. I got the guitar. Peter got a nice baseball glove. I hadn't quit playing at that point but I guess Dad (yeah...it's still weird calling him that) was prepping him, just in case.

I'm not really sure why she bought me the guitar. I had already taken some piano lessons and was proficient for my age. I enjoyed playing but it wasn't something I got overly excited about. I practiced enough to please my teacher and to do well in recitals. I was also expected to perform at Christmas when family and friends from church came around. It wasn't too bad. I liked it most of the time. I guess that it served its purpose because keyboards are my primary instrument now. I do most of my writing on a Korg that I paid way too much money for.

I still play guitar. In fact, I still play in a band every now and then. It's me and a bunch of guys who do studio work and we get together two or three times a month and do classic rock covers for kicks and giggles. We're called Wedoo Hoodoo. Personally, I think it may be one of the stupidest band names I have ever heard. It's not the worst though. That would be Post Metal Syndrome...PMS...really? That one belonged to some guys I went to E.C.U. with. They were a self-proclaimed “grunge-funk” band and weren't too bad. We shared the stage a few times but man...what a horrible name.

Wedoo Hoodoo do mostly high paying corporate gigs and parties for friends and family of the band members. It's not real serious and it doesn't take away time from my career or my hobbies. I don't have a family so that isn't an issue. We could play out every night if we wanted and it still wouldn't interfere with my life. I don't think the other guys would be able to maintain that kind of schedule but I could handle it. I just don't want to. I can make more money writing songs for other people and let them go out and kill themselves on the road.

But yeah...Mom bought me the guitar. Looking back on it now I think she went a little overboard. She knew I liked music but I was still into the whole baseball thing at the time. I was starting to discover pop music on the radio and it was starting to have an affect on me but there was no reason for her to think that I needed a guitar. There really was no reason for her to think that I needed a Martin. They are expensive guitars today and they were expensive guitars then. You buy a Martin if you are an accomplished player and have the cash...you don't buy one for a ten year old kid who has never picked up a guitar.

Yes...she bought me a Martin. Even then, without knowing anything about them, I knew it was a good guitar. I could tell the same way I could tell the difference in a cheap ball glove or a cheap bat. It just felt...better. Although I liked it and began learning how to play immediately, I think Mom was a little disappointed that I didn't fall in love with it immediately.
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Unread 06-30-2014, 07:43 AM   #7
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Really Good!!!
Enjoyed the window into your past.
Band names can be funny. Two of my favorite... 'people with chairs up their noses' and 'John-Cougar Concentration Camp'
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Unread 06-30-2014, 07:51 AM   #8
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Hopefully I will get back to this really soon.

I've been busy.
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Unread 06-30-2014, 08:00 AM   #9
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Good...
I'd love to hear your group! So fun to hear a group that's played together for awhile. See how they communicate emotion in time with attitude.
Have a great day!!!
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