Running – Running – Running Away

During his high school years, he was like most teens who grew up in small towns, he wanted to move away and pursue a dream far from the confines of a small community. He had a burning desire to get as far away from that town and as soon as he could –  he couldn’t get out fast enough. He wanted to shake the haunting memories and the life that he thought he should have had, but hadn’t had. He wanted out so badly he hadn’t considered where he was running too, just as long as he wasn’t in the shadow of that town.

When the time came, he was gone!

He didn’t look back as he passed the city limits – he didn’t even think twice. He was free at last. But as the months and years passed, he still couldn’t separate himself from his past. He traveled further and further away, yet, he couldn’t get far enough away. He kept running, running away from a past that he didn’t want to claim as his own.

For ten years he ran and was still no further from the past than when he started. Finally giving up, he realized that no matter where he traveled, the past would always be there, stalking and haunting him.

Less than one year ago, I began to write a novel OUTED BY ANGER. Angrily I wrote about a young boy coming out in a small rural Oklahoma town during the 70’s. Hate, bullying, prejudice were the key words in a politically charged theme attacking the establishment. Just this past week, I re-read the first six chapters of the incomplete rough draft. In my reading I was stunned that I was perpetuating the very theme that I was taking a stand against: HATE.

I stepped back and re-examined the very story that has been in my head since I was in high school, now the beginning of a manuscript – a manuscript that turned my stomach. This is not the way I had intended to tell this story.

I began at the very beginning of the manuscript and started editing the story. Instead of a narration from the hindsight perspective of an angry man, I turned the voice into that of a confused and naive teen boy. Through the eyes of a teen boy, the story unfolds. My hateful and angry prose were replaced with compassion and sympathy for a boy on a journey through his internal confusion and insecurities. A story of navigation along a rough road of discovery into small town politics and religious prejudice. A tale of a boy with only one objective – to escape the town as soon as he could.

That boy was me.

As I write this story which parallels my own high school experiences, I’m coming face-to-face with my past, the very past I’ve spent my entire life running from. Yet I’m sensing that in writing this tale, it might possibly explain what has eluded me for so very long. What exactly was I running from? Or was I running toward a destination which I had failed to define? A story which began as a coming-of-age story about a young teen boy, may very well become a journey of revelation for the man who is writing it.


Dustin Reviews: Shattered Wings by Bryan Healey

Shattered Wings opens with the story’s ending (no need to read the last chapter first, if you are one of those readers who has to know in advance how a story ends).

“The rain in coming down harder now, each drop larger than the one before it. I look up, but the water keeps me from seeing the menacing sky, illuminated only briefly by a silent crash of light. My hair is fallen and becoming matted to my forehead. I can feel the stain spread across my chest, and the water streaking down my cheeks in rivers, as though the world were crying in my stead. I must look an awful mess; and yet I will look even worse in so short a time, as I squeeze the rubber grip in my hand, resting the steel comfortably against my thigh. The barrel is still warm from being so recently in use.” *

Healey reveals the circumstances in John’s life that brought him to this point in chronologically ordered scenes from recent events interspersed with flashbacks from John’s younger years. The consistent pace of the story flowed smoothly and before I knew it, I was drawn into John’s world. A content family-man living in a suburban home with his lover Charlie and their daughter Cassie. But the world John loves and knows so very well is about to be challenged through unforeseen events and circumstances which sends John into a downward spiral. Each event in John’s life builds on itself until John is no longer in control.

Healey brings to life believable characters in events and circumstances which are common place in our world today to make for an emotional and heartbreaking read – one you won’t soon forget.

* Except from the beginning of Shattered Wings by Bryan Healey

4 out of 5 stars.

Dustin Reviews: Every Man for Himself by Orland Outland

“A delightfully gay comedy of manners and morals, Every Man for Himself skewers the gay archetype of the nineties – the buff poseur – and breathes real life into an age of sexual chaos, pumped-up extremes, and the ever changing rules of attractions.”  ~ from the book jacket

I hate to admit it, but I began reading Every Man for Himself in August (It’s now January). The story opens with John considering the possibility of cheating on his partner Harrison. OK, right there is where I was pulled out of the story and stopped reading. I wasn’t in the mood to read a story about “cheating on a partner”. For months, the unopened book taunted me, setting on my nightstand, it was the last thing I saw before going to sleep and a constant reminder each morning when I awoke. But, I refused to resume reading the story. I finally broke down and began reading it again.

Even though I was fighting to not like the book, I was soon drawn into the story. Every Man for Himself was not the typical “cheating” story, and neither are the characters. Orland Outland drew me into a story of self discovery, not only for John, but for Harrison as well. A story of hope, even when the chips are down and nothing seems to be in your favor.

I just wish I had never put the book down (back in August) to let it act as a dust collector for so many many months.

(Kensington Press has yet to fail me with a really good read.)

4 out of 5 stars.

The Never Ending Chapter…

It’s a new year, a time to put the past behind and to begin fresh and new. The arrival of a new year is like closing one chapter and beginning a new one. But I’m stuck in a rut and for some reason, I can’t seem to move into the next chapter. Did I forget to set up the story line for the next chapter? What am I missing? Why can’t I get the story to move forward?

My life is just one gigantimous ongoing novel. I expect to complete one chapter and move seamlessly into the next. Somehow my life hit a snag-a-boo and the last chapter seems to keep rewriting itself over and over. It’s as if I’m stuck in a looped instant replay. The chapter can’t be deleted and I can’t find a way to edit it.

Aren’t I supposed to be the author of my own life?

A New Day – A New Year

As the clock struck midnight, among fireworks, sirens and champagne toasts, one year slipped away and an untainted new year was greeted with a resounding cheer. Probably no one year, other than during the depression, had the world so looked forward to putting a single year behind us, as was the case with 2011. A year of record breaking floods, droughts, fires, heat, cold and tornadoes; loss of innovators, entertainers, and people of influence, both good and bad. Protests like the USA had not seen since Vietnam. World economies teetered on collapse. A planet fraught with uncertainty and disillusionment optimistically celebrated what we hope to be a new era of possibilities and opportunities.

My sincere wish is that you will be surrounded by awesome friends and family, filled with loads of laughter and memorable new adventures as you move into each and every day.

Happy 2012 planet Earth!

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.