Thursday, March 20, 2008

Where Blogs Cross Over

I wanted to post this here because I forgot how much I think I like this segment of my unnamed novel that I haven't even really developed yet. I think I'll really like this character though.

I wrote this a year or so ago, and I recently had another idea about it, so I took out this section to look at it and get my bearings again. Again, I forgot how much I think I like it.

So please leave some feedback - even if it's negative. I won't be (too) mad at you if you don't like it. And whatever you may suggest, I'll probably agree with it. Just let me know what you think.

The old place still looked the same, if not a little neglected. Owen had bought it five years ago to celebrate his debut album going platinum - and to celebrate expendable income. All of his friends and “people” thought he was nuts to keep it. He was hardly ever here. But this was one of those times when he needed it more than he could ever explain to his “people.”

The very concept of “people” seemed so distant up here in the wild Smokies. Owen was thankful for it. His people had become more like a mob begging to be warmed in his celebrity’s light. One thing no one could understand - barely even himself - was that he absolutely could not forget his roots. As much as he tried to play the part of brilliant balladeer and badass rocker, he still felt backwoods among all the glittery hoopla of being the focus of the public’s eye.

He dropped his bags where he stood in the middle of the small living room. It was obvious that the cleaning service he had hired to give the place a good spit and shine before his arrival had come and gone - and had actually done an amazing job. Everything was as he left it over a year ago when he came with Shayla. He had been afraid the sight of the hearth rug would bring back the pain of beautiful memories that could only be memories from now on. But it was as if she’d never existed. He’d written his way out of the funk, screamed his pain in a digital riot, toured with it, and grown tired of it. Well. At least he’d gotten his third album out of it. A good one, if he did say so himself.

Owen inhaled the old familiar scent of aged lumber and collapsed on the large corduroy couch. He smiled to himself in the promise of a good solid two months of enjoying the cabin he secretly regarded as his home. He loved the place. Wood, real fabric, stone, a porch. His apartment in Nashville was nice, and he enjoyed it. But it just didn’t feel right for some reason. It seemed to be fabricated instead of built. Not sterile or false, but…sugar-coated. Those country roots showing again. But the critics (the friendly ones anyway) always said that was part of what made his music so good. Well, it used to anyway.

Writer’s block. A dam holding up the river of his genius. Blah Blah. That was why he was here, wasn’t it? To remember the bard within. Wasn’t that the bullshit line he’d fed his management? Seemed to work because it was partly true. The other part wasn’t quite as clear even to Owen. But again, he was here to figure all that out. In the meantime, didn’t he leave an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels in the kitchen last year?

Owen peeled himself off the couch and ambled into the small, but fully-equipped kitchen. Shit. Owen mused. I might actually be able to cook a real meal while I’m here. Another residual effect of a mountain upbringing: the desire for a good home-cooked meal. How long had it been? Owen decided not to even consider that, and instead started making a mental list of the things he’d get at the grocery store in town. First things first, though.

He took his bottle of Jack out onto the back porch. He smiled at the very sight of his beloved hot tub. Just big enough for two, built-in fridge, built-in stereo. Hallelujah for the science of luxury. He set his whiskey down on the porch floor and struggled for a few minutes to remove the hot tub’s cover. He smiled. The cleaning service had not forgotten his request to get the hot tub ready. God bless ‘em. Fame and money sometimes had their perks. Owen started to head back into the house to fetch his CD wallet, but decided he needed to reacquaint himself with the music of the woods. So he turned the jets on, stripped down to nothing, grabbed his whiskey, and hopped into the steaming, bubbling water. “Oh fuck yeah,” he moaned.

He settled into one of the molded fiberglass lounges, lay his head back and looked up at the sky. He had forgotten how a sky full of stars fringed by trees could make him feel all that he was. Perspective became a study and the world reminded him that he was on it. Owen sighed as he opened his ears to the sound of crickets, cicadas, and the occasional night bird. The breeze dragged its delicate honeysuckle fingers over his scruffy face and through his wild black curls. He practically shuddered with the tenable glory of the sensation. Oh God, why can’t I stay here longer? It never seemed to be long enough. He always got used to something just in time for it to change. Stop it. Just be, y’ moron.

Owen spent nearly an hour watching the brilliant, big sliver of moon shrink, climb the sky, and change color from orange to yellow to milky white. He was just beginning to doze off when he swore he heard the faintest hint of a guitar playing over the ridge. Something bittersweet and beautiful. He decided that the half bottle of whiskey he had killed was sending him back on tour. Fearful of drowning with the memory of the tour rushing through his veins, he dragged himself out of the hot tub bound for his bed.


  1. Jennifer - I can see why you like this character, and I think you're onto something here. There's some good, vivid description here that keeps the exposition moving and keeps me interested. I'd like to give you more detailed notes when I have time and if you'd like to have them. I'll read it over another time or two!

    Nice work.


  2. :^)
    I'd appreciate further notes, definitely.

    Glad you liked it.

  3. It's appropriate that ITunes just clicked over to "All You Can Feel" -Whiskeytown. ;)

    Other than a few technical tweaks, this is some good writing. I'm glad I took the time to read it today! Were you planning on doing more with this story/character, or are you only looking back on it fondly?

    My suggestions:

    1st sentence: "if a little neglected" The word not is extraneous.

    3rd paragraph: Either make it "...that could only be memories now", or tack the word now onto the beginning of the sentence that follows.

    4th paragraph, last sentence: Change to "At least, it used to."

    I'm baffled by this sentence: "Perspective became a study and the world reminded him that he was on it." Help? :)

  4. I was thinking about his line of sight looking up from the hot tub, and how the perspective of sky, to tops of trees, to middle of trees to immediate surroundings would look to him and how it might kind of stand out and make you think, "Oh yeah, there is all this stuff around and it's kind of cool"

    I'm sure that makes no sense, but it happens to me all the time

    I'll come back to it definitely - I just don't quite know where it's headed yet


    thanks for reading, btw.

  5. You could almost say it like you just explained it. Your instinct to cut things and simplify is good of course, but if you cut so close that we lose the meaning you've got to put something back. So you said, "perspective became a study," and you were thinking about visual perspective, lines of sight and all that. But we don't get all those visuals in your terse description, and it's a bit of a head scratcher. In this case, more is better because we want to see what the character sees, what it is that reminds him that he is on the world.


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