Prolonging Youth

“Yes, I too think there is lots to be said for being no longer young: and I do most heartily agree that it is just as well to be past the age when one expects or desires to attract the other sex. It’s natural enough in our species, as in others, that the young birds should show off their plumage—in the mating season. But the trouble in the modern world is that there’s a tendency to rush all the birds on to that age as soon as possible and then keep them there as late as possible, thus losing all the real value of the other parts of life in a senseless, pitiful attempt to prolong what, after all, is neither its wisest, its happiest, or most innocent period. I suspect merely commercial motives are behind it all: for it is at the showing-off age that birds of both sexes have least sales resistance!”  The collected Letters of C.S. Lewis

Fiction: Thankful Crenshaw Misses a Step

“William, I’m so ashamed of myself—truly—you must forgive me. I’m just so annoyed over Miss Peckham.”

“Why? Because you need to be the center of the universe at all times? Come to your senses,” William said as he pulled a bottle of whiskey from under the tablecloth and filled a large glass to the rim. “You’re a pretty girl, but not the prettiest or smartest or anything. And no, I don’t have to forgive you—and I don’t. Look, the dance is over; better be off to your fiancé before you’re upstaged by Miss Peckham.”

“I hate you, William.”

“It’s Bill,” he muttered, gulped back his drink and poured another.

Miss Peckham raced up, yanked the bottle from his hand and said, “Mr. Weldon, I need you for a dance.”

“I don’t dance.”

Miss Peckham grabbed his hands. “Come on! I know you’d like to. I can see it in your eyes!”

“That’s the drink, I’m afraid,” William joked.

“Don’t be afraid, Mr. Weldon. . . .”

“I’m not!”

“Mr. Weldon, aside from Lieutenant Fahy and me, there’s no talented dancers. It’s just following steps.”

William laughed. Miss Peckham pulled him out, even as he protested, to a circle of dancers with a spot reserved for them by Lieutenant Fahy. The officer had a smug look on his face. William knew he had been set up—yet again—for humiliation. Thankful saw what Fahy was up to and stood stiff and angry with both men. Mrs. Markham and the aged quartermaster sergeant made the third pair and two other second lieutenants rounded out the circle.

“Mr. Weldon, by gosh, take a breath—I’ll get you through this with flying colors!” Miss Peckham whispered.

William nodded staring at his feet, and the music began.

“Three steps forward and back—and again, Mr. Weldon,” Miss Peckham coached.

William concentrated on his teacher. He found that he could follow and not too awkwardly. Turning the opposite partner went all right, but the small sashay got sticky.

Miss Peckham dragged him along as if she were made for the job. When the final twirl of the opposite partner came up, William found himself left hanging in the center, but it was Fahy and Thankful who had missed a step and Thankful belatedly trotted out. “Sorry, my mistake,” she said icily to William.

“So, Mr. Weldon, you seemed to enjoy yourself,” Miss Peckham said as they drank punch between dances.

He laughed. “Thanks.”

“No need to thank me, sir. You could have done it all by yourself.”

“But I wouldn’t have,” William said.

Miss Peckham shook her head. “Well, that’s a sad state of affairs–to wait for others before doing for yourself.”

William took a long drink and said nothing.

The hops lasted until the last dancers went to bed and tonight Miss Peckham and William were amongst the group that kept the musicians awake. Thankful went home early with a headache. Fahy grew tired of watching Bill Weldon make a fool of himself. When Miss Peckham stopped at the front gate of the Markham quarters to say good night to William, Thankful hid by the window to listen. “Call me Gertie, Bill; all of my best chums do,” Miss Peckham whispered.

Thankful’s blood boiled, but she got into bed. Mrs. Markham had put down cool cotton bedding and a nice feather pillow on a cot next to Thankful’s bed, but Thankful pulled an itchy wool blanket out and spread it over the cot after hiding the cotton under her pillow and tucking the feather pillow beneath her bed. She listened as Miss Peckham entered the dark room with a sigh and got into bed. “I hope you’re comfortable, Miss Peckham.”

“Oh, Miss Crenshaw, you’re awake. Thank you for asking. Truth is I could sleep on broken glass and it wouldn’t bother me. I’m so bone tired.”

PREVIOUS EPISODE: WEARY of RUNNING

Excerpted from WEARY OF RUNNING. Read more about Buck Crenshaw, his sister Thankful and William Weldon’s  misadventures when you buy the book today!

“The second installment in The Tenafly Road Series definitely did not disappoint. With the introduction of new characters and the return of familiar ones, Weary of Running made for an exciting read. The protagonist, Thankful, is the real highlight of the novel. She consistently makes very poor decisions but in the end, you can understand why she has made every last one of them. The story ranges from love and romance to questions of faith and morality. It does all this without being preachy and explores many angles of different aspects of life. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.” Amazon Review

“Buck Crenshaw is my favorite dysfunctional lovable character.”

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Where the West Begins (SAGA FRIDAY)

linger-and-look-com
courtesy of LingerandLook.com
Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,

That’s where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter,
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter,

That’s where the West begins.
Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where the friendship’s a little truer,

That’s where the West begins;
Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing,

That’s where the West begins.
Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts in despair are aching,

That’s where the West begins.
Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
Where there’s more of giving and less of buying,
Where a man makes a friend without half trying,

That’s where the West begins.
by
Arthur Chapman

OLD WEST LEGENDS: GREAT PICS OF REENACTORS!

LEGENDS OF THE WEST

LEGENDS OF AMERICA PHOTO/PRINTS

DO YOU ENJOY WESTERN ROMANCE?

LOOKING AT THE WEST (Beautiful Photographs!)

The family saga chronicles the lives and doings of a family or a number of related or interconnected families. The typical novel follows the generations of a family through a period of time to portray particular historical events, changes of social circumstances, or the ebb and flow of fortunes from a multiple of perspectives.

This week I’m bringing you the West (where my characters sometimes escape to).

And remember weekends are the perfect time to read family saga fiction!

Happy Friday,

A

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Fiction: A Drunken Night

What happens when you mess with soiled doves . . .

“Bill Weldon, I’ve listened to your snoring long enough and my patience is all worn through. Even after the five dollars you gave me last night, you still owe me for ten hours.”

At first, in his fog, the voice sounded like his grandmother’s, but William sat up and realized his mistake. The woman, with sagging jowls and deep ruts across her forehead, sat in her pantaloons, legs wide apart with a Turkish cigarette dangling between her fingers.

William tried to remember how he’d paid for her services, wincing as he moved his sore leg over the edge of the bed.

“Bill, I hope you ain’t looking for no shoes. You musta lost em at bluff.”

“I couldn’t tell you,” William mumbled, pulling his trousers off the bed knob.

“So you still owe me for some hours,” the woman said. Her eyes were slits beneath their puffed and heavy lids and her mouth rested in a scowl of disappointment and skepticism.

“I bet I slept through most of it.” William checked his pockets. “I don’t know, Madeline, I’ll have to pay you back some other time, I guess.”

“Get out of my sight, Bill Weldon.”

William limped out the door and vomited. The loss of the expensive boots weighed on him now as he walked toward home.

“Willy!”

He froze on the dusty road as Lieutenant Fahy and Thankful strode over to him. William buttoned his shirt. The dirt, sweat and bodily fluids beneath it made him very uncomfortable now. His tongue caught in his sandpaper mouth.

“Oh, Willy! We’ve been searching for you for hours!” Thankful embraced him.

Fahy stared at William’s bootless and deformed foot.

“Willy, I’m all set to go and I need my money now,” Thankful said. “I left it in your room after you told me about the bandits in the desert. Please let me go fetch it.”

“I don’t know, Thankful, I . . .” William held his head.

The lieutenant glared at him.

“Thankful, just how much money did you leave in my room?” William thought of the whore and drinking . . .

Thankful leaned forward and whispered, “Over two hundred dollars!”

Both Fahy and William blanched.

“Please, God,” William prayed to himself, “don’t let me have lost all that money!”

“Bill, take us to your room this instant—please. The poor girl wants her money.” The lieutenant gave William a superior and knowing look.

William coughed and swallowed his spit before leading them back to his hovel, limping.

“Oh, Willy, you haven’t lost your boots?” Thankful asked. She gave him a tender look.

William opened his door. The lieutenant scanned the floor and bedding and the bits of William’s drawings. Thankful went to the wash basin and gasped. “Oh, Willy, you wouldn’t have taken the money—by accident–last night, would you? Did you find your hidden savings?”

The lieutenant scoffed. “Hidden savings? More like your father’s money!”

“I don’t even remember coming home,” William asserted.

“Do you remember moving my money at all?” Thankful asked, her face red and frightened.

William shook his head.

“Don’t tell us you took the money to the bluff tables!” the lieutenant exclaimed.

“He couldn’t lose that much at poker, could he, Mr. Fahy?” Thankful wrapped her arm in Fahy’s and it galled William.

“Anything is possible with your cousin. He has a knack for trouble, poor fellow.”

Fahy was so clean and self-possessed.

“Land sakes, Willy, try to remember!” Thankful said. “I can’t go home with no money to show for myself!”

“You shouldn’t have brought so much out here!” William said. “It was so dangerous and stupid!”

“Bill Weldon!” Fahy said. “How dare you lecture your cousin! You’ve really put her in a pickle. It’s well-known you owe half the whores in town and have high tabs at the dram shops. You should confess instead of hiding behind your supposed infirmities.”

William remembered Thankful’s words last evening—be good. He couldn’t defend himself against a night he didn’t remember.

“Shall we bring the sheriff in on this, Miss Crenshaw?”

“Merciful heavens, no!” Thankful replied. “I don’t want Willy in trouble. I know it’s not his fault. I shouldn’t have depended on him, it wasn’t fair.”

William wracked his brain for ways to help her. “What will you do now?”

Fahy replied, “Miss Crenshaw is welcome at the captain’s house for as long as she likes. She’s already Mrs. Markham’s pet after only one night. Some are just more suited for the military life.”

“I’m so sorry, William, that I put that much temptation in your hands,” Thankful said, wiping a tear from her eye. “I only wish you thought of me how I think of you.”

William couldn’t have spent all the money. “Thankful, I’ll come and see you tomorrow. Maybe I’ll think of something.”

“William, it’s all right. I’ll be well taken care of. Don’t trouble yourself,” Thankful replied, with an edge in her voice William had never heard before. “It’s my fault entirely.”

PREVIOUS EPISODE

**Featured Image: LEGENDS OF THE WEST

Excerpted from WEARY OF RUNNING. Read more about Buck Crenshaw, William Weldon and Thankful Crenshaw’s  misadventures when you buy the book today!

“The second installment in The Tenafly Road Series definitely did not disappoint. With the introduction of new characters and the return of familiar ones, Weary of Running made for an exciting read. The protagonist, Thankful, is the real highlight of the novel. She consistently makes very poor decisions but in the end, you can understand why she has made every last one of them. The story ranges from love and romance to questions of faith and morality. It does all this without being preachy and explores many angles of different aspects of life. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.” Amazon Review

“Buck Crenshaw is my favorite dysfunctional lovable character.”

Family Saga Friday (LINKS)

What is a family saga? I found this definition on Goodreads:

The family saga chronicles the lives and doings of a family or a number of related or interconnected families. The typical novel follows the generations of a family through a period of time to portray particular historical events, changes of social circumstances, or the ebb and flow of fortunes from a multiple of perspectives.

Each Friday I’ll share a little on this genre & family history  (also, if anyone would like to share a piece of their own family saga, memoir or just plain old family memories let me know and we can work on posting it here).

And remember weekends are the perfect time to read family saga fiction!

Happy Friday,

A

 Haunting Line Inspired New Historical Fiction Novel

 

Reading Up On Some Osawatomie history

 

Eternal: A Poem

Novel Inspiration: A Deserted Girl

What if you’re the favorite child and grow up beautiful in a house of secrets? You’re a smart girl and learn quite young how to skirt your parents’ anger with a smile and outward compliance. Your rebellion comes late and turns in upon itself. Your admirers see a blue dress and a seductive impetuosity. Your brothers think you’re a fool.

It’s hard to protect an impetuous girl. Emotions can’t be bottled in a dress. Needing love trumps sticking to a plan. When the man you love loves something else another man will do. This other man will convince the first that you, Thankful Crenshaw, have worth beyond your curls and flirtatious giggle. You assumed William Weldon already knew that. You assumed he’d leave his new found badness in town and rescue you from your foolishness. You thought you’d eventually tell him  things about Buck and Fred and all you’ve kept to yourself for years.

But here you are alone.

Pretending, always pretending, in your blue dress that you know what you’re doing, that your heart isn’t torn. You have a pretty smile and curls that droop in the desert. Everyone admires the picture you present and that is all.

*****Thankful, is the real highlight of the novel. She consistently makes very poor decisions but in the end, you can understand why she has made every last one of them. Amazon review

ENTER TO WIN! (Final day for WEARY OF RUNNING!)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Weary of Running by Adrienne  Morris

Weary of Running

by Adrienne Morris

Giveaway ends December 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

 

The Dew That Goes Early Away by Adrienne  Morris

 

The Dew That Goes Early Away

 

by Adrienne Morris

 

Giveaway ends December 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

 

 

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FICTION: Holiday Domestic Disputes

Fred Crenshaw leaves town to have his twin pick up the pieces of a broken holiday.

Buck slogged through the fairy-lit town of Englewood as carolers sang. Up the hill to Chestnut Street he debated sleeping either in the carriage house or his warm bed. A month of winter break promised to be damned uncomfortable as things stood now with his parents.

Buck wondered how Streeter was doing at home for Christmas and for good. Maybe Streeter’s people considered him a failure and were disappointed in his decision to withdraw from the academy or maybe they had always expected Streeter to be mistreated by white cadets and were relieved to have their son back. Or maybe they had an ounce of hope that things were different after the war, and Buck and Fred had killed that for them.

The massive dried-out Christmas tree Graham had brought home too soon stayed unlit in the large front window–a fire hazard. The gaslights up the drive and the candle-lit windows made for a bright yet false sense of Christmas spirit. Buck climbed the front steps and slipped into the hallway. He pulled off his boots with sore tingling fingers setting them in their place under the bench. Buck tip-toed towards the staircase, but in the expansive parlor sat the family. Even Margaret’s Irish wolfhound Fiona remained aloof at her owner’s feet as Buck came before them with a sigh.

“Did Fred find you? Where is he?” Graham asked.

“How would I know?” Buck said, pulling his hat off as he came closer to the fire.

“Buck, we’ve decided as a family. . .” Graham said in his milk-toast style.

Buck laughed.

“As a family,” Graham hesitated. His eyes were red again.

“What your father is trying to say is that you are no longer welcome in this house,” Margaret explained.

“Mama . . .”

Margaret burst into tears. “How could you fall in love with another cadet?”

“Margaret, shut up!” Graham ordered.

“I-I’m not in love with anyone! Mama, Fred lies!”

“Now, Buck, I know Fred is no good, but has he been lying about you failing school? Has Fred lied about you kicking Streeter and leaving him for dead?” Graham asked.

“No, but it was Fred who . . .”

“Fred has told us how time and time again you have avoided class and made that poor cadet’s life a misery.”

“But Fred . . .”

“Fred is not failing school,” Graham said. “He’s too busy for pranks, but not you. Fred is still at the top of his class and destined for great things—even if he is an arrogant piece of—“

“Graham, not in front of the children,” Margaret scolded.

“Father, you said you cared more for integrity than prestige—you hypocrite!” Buck whispered, his frail voice used up.

“You speak to me of integrity after bribing stable workers and almost killing another cadet because he’s colored?” Graham asked. “Buck, I’ve failed. I admit it. There are so many things I should have done differently so I hate myself more than I hate you.”

“You hate me?” The wound at Buck’s neck throbbed.

Graham opened his mouth, but stopped himself from speaking further.

“Father, if a train threatened to hit me would you risk your life to push me out of the way?” Buck asked, trembling.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“You’ve shown me nothing but hate, Buck,” Graham said, his try at ambivalence ringing hollow. He cleared his throat, glancing at Margaret who expected her decrees to be carried out no matter the pain they caused her husband. Graham turned back to Buck. “Why do you care if I like you? And besides it’s a ridiculous question. I might save a dog for all I know. It proves nothing. It’s not rational thinking, Buck.”

“I don’t care!” Buck said, throwing his hat to the ground.

“Buck, you’ve made your bed with your debased immorality. It took a lot for Fred to admit that his beloved brother commits sodomy!” Margaret said.

Graham shook his head.

“Father, I don’t! I haven’t!”

“Well, you are only just above a convicted criminal and I can’t have you around the young ones this month, though Nathan is greatly disappointed. Of course I will pay to have you put up at the hotel in town,” Graham choked out.

“What about Fred?”

“Fred met us on the road and drove home with us before setting out to look for you,” Margaret said. “He apologized for his behavior. He’s been seeing a girl from Highland Falls. Her family has invited him to stay at their place in the city for a few weeks. We think they’ll marry.”

“So Fred’s not kicked out of the house?”

“He’s not going to be here anyway,” Margaret explained. “He says he’s been under an awful strain worrying about you.”

“I don’t believe it!” Buck cried.

“Buck, we do this for your own good. You need to learn that your actions, good and bad, are rewarded in kind,” Graham wiped his face. “We want you out by tomorrow, son.”

“Don’t ever call me son!” Buck replied and stalked off to his room. Lighting the lamp on his bureau, he caught his torn face in the mirror. From his hairline to his brow, a mass of unresolved flesh, inflamed and unhealed, confronted him. The actual scar raised like a vein breaking the surface. Buck took the mirror and smashed it on the floor. Embarrassed at himself then, he crouched to gather the shards of glass. His Uncle Oliver had committed suicide. Buck sat back considering it, but then Thankful knocked and let herself into the room.

“What’s happened?” Thankful looked at the glass and fell to her knees beside him. “Buck, don’t even consider it! Please don’t!”

“I wasn’t considering anything,” he lied. He dropped the shards in the wastebasket.

“Buck, you didn’t throw the memory book into the fire.”

“What makes you say that?”

“It’s Fred. I know it.”

“No, it’s me,” Buck said. “Why didn’t I retrieve the book from the fire? It seems my life is a blur and I’m far off.”

“Buck, don’t do anything foolish.”

Buck stared at her. “That’s all I ever do.”

“Now that’s a lie. Remember how you brought me ice cream all the way from town every day when I was sick that summer?”

“It was always melted—and I stole it.”

“Buck, you’re terrible, but not as terrible as Fred and that’s why Father was so upset.”

“He’s so upset he’s disowning me.”

“It’s because Mama thinks you like men.” Thankful laughed.

“I almost asked a girl to marry me at the end of summer.”

“No! Really?” Thankful outshone the family in beauty. Her wide-set intelligent eyes and round, rose-hued cheeks against her jet black curls charmed everyone she met, but Buck loved her loyal devotion to him best. How many times had she stood for him against their mother?

“Yes,” Buck continued, “but she refused me after all. Her name was Rose Turner.”

Thankful swallowed. “From Highland Falls?”

A look of realization traced his face. “No, that’s not the girl Fred—he wouldn’t!” Buck groaned.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Weary of Running by Adrienne  Morris

Weary of Running

by Adrienne Morris

Giveaway ends December 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Excerpted from WEARY OF RUNNING. Read more about Buck Crenshaw and his misadventures when you buy the book today!

“The second installment in The Tenafly Road Series definitely did not disappoint. With the introduction of new characters and the return of familiar ones, Weary of Running made for an exciting read. The protagonist, Thankful, is the real highlight of the novel. She consistently makes very poor decisions but in the end, you can understand why she has made every last one of them. The story ranges from love and romance to questions of faith and morality. It does all this without being preachy and explores many angles of different aspects of life. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.” Amazon Review

“Buck Crenshaw is my favorite dysfunctional lovable character.”

PART ONE HERE

PART TWO HERE

PART THREE HERE

PART FOUR HERE

PART FIVE HERE

PART SIX HERE

PART SEVEN HERE

PART EIGHT HERE

PART NINE HERE

PART TEN HERE

PART ELEVEN HERE

PART TWELVE HERE

PART THIRTEEN HERE

PART FOURTEEN HERE

PART FIFTEEN HERE

PART SIXTEEN HERE

PART SEVENTEEN HERE

PART EIGHTEEN HERE

PART NINETEEN HERE

PART TWENTY HERE

Novel Inspiration (3): The Scapegoat

INSPIRATION: Every addict needs a scapegoat.

Captain Simon McCullough’s motto: Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die. This gets John Weldon’s goat. How unfair it is that Simon coasts through life suffering nary a scratch while drinking, womanizing and joking all the way?

Weldon fails to note the fatalism in Simon’s motto. He underestimates the friend he tries to hate.

There’s a type of 19th century military memoir tremendously fun to read. The accent is on the antics of  soldiers in downtime that almost trick one into believing war is quite a great time. I’ve always admired the way boys and men conduct friendship and briefly considered running away to be an intelligence officer in the Navy (to escape that first marriage and possibly  meet a naval officer–a weird twist of fate had me meet and marry a Navy man years later).

I often hear about those extroverts who skim the surface of life with little self-reflection. Simon McCullough only plays that role in his family. Never judge a book by its cover, they say.

“Have you read all these books, sir?” Weldon asked but regretted it.

Scott laughed tracing his fingers over the rim of his glass with a self-satisfied air. “These and more. A person is nothing without a mind for knowledge. I had high hopes for Simon and bought every book here for his education.” He sighed.

Simon took a drink, his expressionless face toward the fire.

“Well, when things turned sour, and we sent Simon off to military school…our Katherine kept reading for enjoyment sake, I suppose. She has a decent mind for a girl, but an education is wasted on women. And truth be told Simon was no scholar.”

Simon, with his light hair slicked back and his brawny shoulders pent up in fine summer linen, oozed a restlessness which annoyed his father and saddened Katherine who knew that Englewood was too small for him now. Simon poured another drink in the stifling silence. Katherine mourned over something lost in him. She went to a shelf and took out the scrapbook she had made since his first going away to West Point and then the war. She ran her fingers over the tintypes of Simon at war and the yellowing newsprint which had brought the battles home to her. The boy who used to bring her into his world had never come back as a man.            

Scott’s eyes fell upon Katherine with an air of sad disappointment.

Simon noticed and broke into story. “Father, you’d have been appalled at the antics of the soldiers away from home doing as they pleased. One officer even tended bar in a bawdy house in full uniform  . . . or so I hear.” Simon winked at Weldon. “And some of the girls were pretty . . . from a distance, anyway. Father, you know the Renner’s from English Neighborhood? Remember, Weldon, how we caught him out? It was a laugh. We were just walking through Murder Bay—for an evening stroll to round up the boys, Father, nothing more—and who do we come across after leaving a drinking establishment but Renner as tight as can be in an alley—how idiotic he looked with his trousers around his ankles and a Cyprian with her mouth around his . . .”     

 

Novel Inspirations: THE ADDICT

THE ENABLER

ENTER THE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY! (The winner gets the much prettier new cover)

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

The House on Tenafly Road by Adrienne  Morris

The House on Tenafly Road

by Adrienne Morris

Giveaway ends December 06, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Who Owns Time? The Writer Does.

One moment then gone.
One moment then gone.

Writers own time–temporarily. People own time temporarily and if you don’t believe in an after life then it makes perfect sense to speed on the highway and flip out after getting behind an old lady at the grocery store who only fishes for her checkbook at the very last minute.

My parents made lists to segment their time. My mother wrote in her perfect, artful script fantastically long and detailed lists. My father sat at the kitchen table talking his lists out, “First I have to finish breakfast, then I’ll read the paper, and then I have to go do the lawn and then a nap and maybe I’ll go to Dunkin’ Donuts to bring Kenny some coffee later (his brother who worked nights cleaning the school).

Song of the Lark as fleeting as the clouds.
Song of the Lark as fleeting as the clouds.

We were ALWAYS given new watches for Christmas–I even got a silver finger watch with a blue face one year but it got in the way of my quest for my mother’s perfect penmanship while making my own lists. No matter how many clocks went off each hour in our house–the Birds of North America clock, the cuckoo clock from my father’s stay in Germany during the Cold War, the mantle clock with the sad chime that reminded my mother of her grandfather and the annoying clock radio set between stations  all going off at about but not exactly the same moment– time slipped by anyway –the very time we were accounting for.

The thousands of old photographs framed on the dining room wall were mourning triggers. The clocks and watches were constant reminders that these happy times at the table vying for who might get the last piece of fried chicken would be over one day and even today would be gone in only a few hours. My father watched the clock for the last ten years of his life waiting for the game to be over–the game of knowing the hours, but not  knowing the time when there would be no more time.

Just alone--with time.
Just alone–with time.

And so it is with my writing. Graham Crenshaw gives watches to his children–in place of spending time with them. He gives Buck the special watch that belonged to his brother who died of dysentery during the war–the saintly brother who nursed the other men until there was no one left to nurse him in a crappy field hospital run by a disreputable doctor. Graham stays busy with projects and studies and doctoring–hoping to stop time. Stop the onslaught of death. To be a doctor and to hate death, to give timepieces that always come back to haunt him–this is Graham’s quiet torture. To take part in his children’s life means he’d have to mourn their passing from childhood into messy adulthood and maybe death, certainly death at some point.

As a writer I control death. I control time, that is, until my time comes.

A moment savored, but will it be remembered?
A moment savored, but will it be remembered?

http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/the-last-great-american-watchmaker-20121101

For more about The Tenafly Road series:

THE TENAFLY ROAD SERIES