I’m not sure what’s happening. I was turning left. Blinker on, just about to release the clutch pedal and smoothly cross over on to 80th street. Just six blocks from home.
Now, I’m not sure though. I’m not sure what’s going on. At all. This doesn’t make sense. I’m moving forward. It’s like the car is driving by itself. Except gravity is all wrong. I’m falling. I’m falling away from the car. Out the hatch. So are the odd items sitting on the dash. They’re shooting toward me. Its like they’ve been flicked off the counter by some lunchroom bully. Why is he throwing these things at me? No. That’s not it.
No. That’s not it.They are running away from me. They are sick of being here and they are leaving. The little quartz crystals. The bird feathers. The twigs and sticks plucked from road trips all over the eastern United States. Holly from outside the Smithsonian. Acorns from the cabin. They’re suspended all around me. They are flying out the back window. I have offended them.
I still can’t figure out what’s happening, but I am not moving again. I haven’t taken my foot off the clutch yet. I think I can still probably make that left turn, although I’m not sure I’m facing the right way. But I should just go. My body is screaming at me to run. My body is demanding I get out of the car and run away. I need to be safe. I need to find somewhere to hide.
My brain is not helping. It’s not sure what happened yet. It’s not sure why we haven’t turned left. It’s confused. There was a bump. A jolt. The drive is still skittering across the platter looking for the remnants of the last I/O. It’s like I’m buffering. My body screams at me to get out of the car. My brain says nothing. So I get out.
I’m outside the car now. Brain is figuring it out now. It’s got new data. It’s outside the bubble of the inside of the car. We were in an accident. We were hit. Yes. We experienced this. We should see if we are ok. We’re ok. Of course we’re ok. Who cares, anyway. The car is not ok. I am not going home yet. I am six blocks away from home and I could probably run there without a break. I should call someone.
The man is out of his blue truck. He is looking very sad. He has a white beard. Maybe. He’s asking me if I’m ok. I sway a little on my legs. I should tell him. I need to say something to him.
I get out that one word before I realize I don’t know the right thing to say. The brain is still buffering. Don’t say something mean. Don’t make this a fight my brain says. What should I do, my body says. Run. my body says. Run away.
No. My brain says. No. Tell him its ok. Tell him you are sorry.
NO! My body shouts. We’re not sorry. He hit us! We’re not sorry at all. We should hit him. In return. That would be fair.
No! My brain says. Don’t be stupid. Tell him something honest.
My heart takes over.
“I. am. very. angry. with. you.” my heart says to the man.
The man nods. I see he is heart sick over this. I am not making it easy on him. I feel bad. But my brain is churning so slow. It doesn’t know what to say. I am so confused.
Call for help. my brain says. Call for help now. Ok. I call for help. “Help.” I say. “Call 911.”
“Are you calling 911?” the man asks.
“I don’t know,” I say. The 911 operator asks me what’s happening. I think about the EMH from Star Trek Voyager. “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.”
I’m extra excited because it’s a story that really hope you’ll read. And that scares me, because it’s a story that is completely true. Except for the fact that it never happened. This story is, at its core, all real experiences, emotions, and characters, and settings. It is, at its core, a memoir of my experience of my adult relationship with my father, his land, and our place in it.
With one hitch: All this takes place in story that never happened.
That’s the hybrid part, I guess. This story is an memoir written about an alternative present.
Here’s a sample:
When I came back to the front yard to carry on with the clean up my father had not moved, except to turn 180-degrees from the tree and stare wistfully up the hill again.
“I’m not sure why I stay here,” he said.
It was kind of a strange bomb to drop, given the fact that my daughter and I had stopped here on our way to our home a few days ago to escape the rain. And we’d been evacuated to the basement as the weather worsened. I tried to smile it off. My wife might have asked a question like that, I guess, because she had moved around her whole life, but my dad always seemed permanently rooted to his land. For me, stopping at my dad’s little valley to ride out the latest crisis was something of a habit. The crisis of the westward storm was only the most recent of the string of financial, emotional or vehicular storms I’d weathered in my parent’s valley.
“It’s good land,” I said, peaking at the swamped garden. “You’ve worked hard.”
He was swaying a little on his feet. His gristled back, baked a cinnamon brown from years of shirtless Augusts tending his plants and garden, twitched and pulsed as he swayed.
It’s a challenging and dangerous thing, to write about who you really are so brazenly. I do not envy memoir writers, theres is a truth-speaking that cannot be on spoke. But, I do think this is a good story, and I intend to honor the dreams that inspired it by helping it to find publication.
You can read the whole submission (and comment and and make suggestions, revisions, and etc) over at Red Lemonade’s Hybrid Bestiary.
The story is called “The Tree Cutter.” There really is a teepee in my dad’s backyard. There really are gigantic supercattle up the hill from him. I have no idea if it is safe to drink the water there anymore, but I do anyway. I really slept on a VW microbus in the summers. That bus is still parked there. Seriously: Read the story.
Do: Create a fairly complex alternative or future earth society featuring amazing technology and an significant technology and wealth gap between those with the most and those with the least.
Do not: Fail to build a culture of the larger society that jibes with the smaller.
Do: Cast your entire story with entirely unlikeable flat characters, so long as there are one or two minor characters who are endearing, but equally as flat, to keep the reader interested.
Do not: Kill and or dismiss those characters early in the story.
Do not: Fail to really flesh those characters out beyond the most basic “good and pure” archetypes.
Do Not: Make hunting so easy! Even if you’re really really good at it, sometimes you can’t just go out and catch two rabbits and a fat squirrel just because you’re that awesome.
Do: Put your characters into grueling, fight-for-their-life situations where everything seems impossible and there seems to be no way out.
Do not: Bring that situation to an incredible climax with your heroes standing on top of a giant thanksgiving cornucopia surrounded by werewolf clones of their previously defeated enemies. I mean, really?
Do: End the story with a dramatic self-sacrifice on the part of one or both of the major characters.
Do not: Fail to pull the trigger on that self-sacrifice.
Do not: Suddenly turn your heroic bad-ass into a sniveling love-sick puppy dog.
Do: End on a cliffhanger so I have to read the next book, even though, really, who cares?
Today’s publication includes chapters 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9. These chapters contain action, adventure, drama, and historical data dumping. You will enjoy them. We finally get to learn more about Quan, the boy solider and about his relationship with the other Sions of Sugar Island. We take a tour of the Honey Acres Compound. We make a thin reference to the famous Finch Brothers– a band of cowboys from Lake Mills Wisconsin.
By adopting the organic technology of psionic implants, the Scions of Sugar Island carried their fight throughout the biotronic age, using their implants to give them one last self-evident right. They’d lost free speech. They’d lost freedom of press, religion, and even the pursuit of happiness. But they had one thing. They had freedom of thought. The implants, carried and worn by all of the true scions of Sugar Island, afforded the founders of the scion’s society the privacy of their minds. That, Cailean said, was the one thing that they’d managed to salvage, and that, he insisted, was the one thing that kept them from succumbing to the mind-numbing epidemic that had taken the lives and freedom of the people of the New City.
“While the New City of Sugar Island crumbles around us,” the wiry old man said with a spark in his eye, “The true Sugar Island has chance to rise again
I’m serializing my novel “Someone Liche You” on Red Lemonade over the course of the next few months. Most of it is available online right now. About half of it is yet to be uploaded. (I’m editing as fast as I can– and there’s a lot more to edit!) Eventually, the whole thing will be avaialble on demand and as a self-published kindle book.
“Someone Liche You” continues.
In these chapters, Kevin wakes up and passes out like, three times. And ends up in a psychic battle with an old man. Oops. Spoilers.
“You are at a crossroads, Kevin Adderly.” Cailean said. “I cannot make you do anything you do not want to do. But I will ask you this one time. Will you step into this bower and talk with me?”
Kevin stepped. He did it without thinking. If there was one thing he was not sure of, it was that whether wanted to listen to the man. But, if he’d learned anything on his bike ride, it was that when his mind failed, he could trust his body to do what it needed to. And his body stepped into the bower.
His mind was somewhat disappointed in this turn of events, but his heart felt a great burden released. So there was that, he thought.
Eventually, my plan is to release the entire novel via Lulu and the indie e-book vendors. For cheap. But if you want to read it for free as it’s being edited and proofread, I’m serializing it at RedLemona.de.
When I wrote this in the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006 I was really hoping to tell a story about a man hero who had feelings. At this point in the story, Kevin clearly has feelings. He spends a lot of time crying in this chapter. He gets stronger from here on out. Our little Kevin Adderly is growing up.
Kevin had sat crying for a good while, but when dehydration and exhaustion made his sobs run dry, he just stopped caring. He may have even slept. He had no idea. He rested his face on his hands, which were resting on his knees. He shuddered. Devoid of all feeling. Numb. He’d just killed a man; what else mattered?
This chapter is much better than this passage would indicate. Read it. Read it now!
One of the things I wanted to do with this novel was tell the story of a reluctant hero. An A-typical protagonist who isn’t really the heroic type.
That, eventually, manifested as Kevin Adderly crying a lot.
Uncontrollably, his body wracked with sadness, snot ran down his face, and he fell to his knees. He slouched onto the floor next to the dead man. Still sobbing, he curled up into a ball on the floor, always holding firm to his weapon.
Read, edit, comment, and enjoy over at indie publisher RedLemona.de.
The Germans have a lot of great words with no real English equivalent. One of them is ChaosKampf. It means, so I’m told, ‘struggle against chaos’ and it sums up the hero’s battle against a chaotic monster often represented as a dragon or serpent.
“Lo: thy dread empire, Chaos, is restored;
Light dies before thy uncreating word:
Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
And universal darkness buries all.”
–Alexander Pope, The Dunciad
In the case of “Someone Liche You,” my novel being experimentally published in serial at RedLemona.de, it refers to Kevin Adderly’s flight across a dead city in search of his zombie girlfriend’s mom. Thus is where chapter 3.1 begins.
With the coming of spring, so too arrives the last two chapters in the second part of my self-publishing experiment at RedLemona.de. With the posting of Chapters 2.4 and 2.5, this section of the novel Someone Liche You is now online.
It was all old tech in here. Slow, reliable old-tech that, when it invariably broke, he could take it apart and fix it. He didn’t have to grow replacement parts in a dish. Nothing in his junk mine skirted that weird line between living thing and vacuum cleaner. It was his. And he was its master.
Yesterday these two chapters were but a single chapter– strange things happen as I re-work some of these rougher chapters for publication. In these chapters we’re introduced to Gregor’s Junk Mine and start to get a little insight into special kind of libertarian that Gregor Samsa believes himself to be. Oh, don’t let the use of political homily scare you. This novel is not about conservatives vs. progressives. It’s really the story about a very special corgi. The last thing I want you to walk away from this novel thinking is “it was pretty good but I wish there had been more corgi.”
As of right now, Someone Liche You, Part Two: A Monstrous Vermin is complete.
The official album to listen to while reading this section is Oingo Boingo’s Farewell: Life from The Universal Amphitheater – Halloween 1995
Where do we go from here?
Part Three: Subtitle forthcoming returns us to the main storyline. Kevin hits the streets of an empty city in search of his undead girlfriend’s mother. Ooo! Exciting!
I’m sure glad that the second part of my novel “Someone Liche You” is only four chapters long. The third chapter is now available for your consideration at Alternative publisher RedLemona.de.
Something is trying to get into Gregor Samsa’s concrete and steel reinforced garage hanger, and when it does, Gregor is not only surprised, but extremely annoyed. And the dog does little beyond unhelpfully heightening the overall sense of urgency.
Gregor commanded the dog be quiet with a quick shush, to which Cursor responded by exploding into a full bark. Gregor stepped forward and tilted the oil lamp to try to throw the light better toward the corner
You can read Part 2.3 at Red Lemona.de, or you can start from the outset of the Second Part. Or read the whole thing from the very beginning. One more chapter to post before Thursday, when we move on to Part 3.
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