As a reader, I’ve always been drawn to authors who take the time to really WRITE for me, going the extra mile and giving me prose that occasionally makes me say, “Wow! I wish I’d written that.”
As an author, I try to provide precisely that kind of moment for my readers, at least once in a while. Have I succeeded? I guess you’d have to ask my readers.
Still, I’ve picked out a few segments of my book, FORGIVE ME, ALEX, which I’ve always been pleased with, where I tried to go that extra mile. I’m not going to pinpoint them in the book for you, or give away any spoilers, in case you want to read the book, but here are a few paragraphs I really enjoyed writing (meaning agonizing over, sweating, rewriting, sweating some more, and rewriting again… and again). I hope you like them.
Alex’s vacant brown eyes and perpetual frown, his continuous soft sigh and the musty smell of sweat and tears on his Scooby-Doo pajamas, the way his chin rested continually on his chest—these left me utterly heartbroken.
Like whispers in a storm, those memories only tease at me now, here at this obscene and maddening event. I’m trying not to relive every moment of 1978. Every time I do, I feel as if swimming in quicksand, anchored by my constant companions—sorrow and guilt. I’m too damned tired; can’t shake the confusion, the dread. I fear surrendering to fear.
My life teems with just such wretched ironies.
Finally, dawn crept mischievously out of the darkness, like the bratty kid down the block come to tease me.
The words I wrote in my diary at the time return to me, a personal anthem more relevant than ever: Rage flows like lava through my veins. My soul slowly roasts upon the flames. How did I ever let it come to this?
Now mortality, as it did seventeen years ago, lingers above me like the hangman’s noose. Yet it looms more ominous than ever, as if it will drop down around my neck at any moment. After all, I know the true Mitchell Norton. And whom shall I fear if not the devil, the grim torturer who conquered my aspirations and left me without a recognizable world of my own?
Long before the embers of the dawn burn, I awake to a world cloaked in darkness, mired in a storm that mirrors my essence. My dream of Alex, reduced to a puff of smoke in a gale-force wind, still cuts me to the bone. I struggle to regain my composure, but my emotions remain on edge, as though the smallest catalyst will tumble me into the abyss, the black chasm of my mind.
I’ve long stood upon the precipice, waiting—almost hoping—for the ledge to collapse beneath me.
Circumstances change, roads turn, and life occasionally heads off down its own path, like the impetuous child who turns and says, “Come on, hurry up!” That’s how I feel, as if chasing after my own life, unsure where it’s going but cautiously hopeful. Contentment remains hidden—my elusive desire. In my entire adult life, I’ve been unable to cast it from the shadows. It’s there, I know—waiting, perfectly camouflaged in the vagaries and machinations of everyday life. I have merely to reach out and grasp it.
When the voice of the Reaper comes to call, you’d better put on your listening cap. He’s quite the work, the Reaper, dedicated to everlasting misery, the exploitation of flesh, the ecstasy of terror. If the deepest, darkest and most horrifying recesses of the human mind can conceive of it, then the Reaper has already heaped it upon the dredges of humankind, already made of it a plaything, already rollicked in the pure joy of it.
I hope you enjoyed those.