Thursday, February 05, 2015

...Sharing Your Writing Is Also Hard

The other day, I happened to turn on "The Wonder Years," which is one of my all-time favorite shows.  It was from the first season (episode five or six), where Kevin tries to build up the courage to call that really gorgeous chick in his first period class.  And wow, the memories came flooding in.  I've never fought a guy to the death, or walked on a tightrope stretched between two buildings, or done open-heart surgery on a loved one using only chopsticks and an "ALF" button, but one of the five hardest challenges I've ever faced was doing that whole girl-calling thing.  I used to berate myself (for cowardice) so mercilessly it would have, ironically, have made my own father proud, and remember that moment when I absolutely . . . could . . . not . . . speak when I heard her voice on the other end of the phone.

And I wasn't, what, three years old, like it seems Kevin Arnold is in that episode. 

Calling her up was no picnic, and when I finally managed it (wasn't on the first try, either), there wasn't a timeless Classic Rock tune playing and a fade to black.  Sometimes I wonder what went wrong with my own wonder years.

But another thing that, as you well know, has been hard for me (even now, as a constantly-getting-fatter adult), is sharing my writing with others, putting my work out there for all to see and/or mock, and though I am better than I used to be, I'm still a long ways off from the "Hey, kid, buy my book and improve your life!" types I see at conventions or on Facebook.

But I'm still trying. 

Case in point: here's me sharing what I've been working on in my lil writing notebook (which is now 96% full and it'll be time to start on another one).

         Ben Parks was doing alright for himself.  He was an eleven year old kid in a new town--Trueno, Arizona--and yet, he was happier than he could remember, although he had a vague memory of his mother singing to him before she died, and how beautiful she'd been.  He had his own room--in Mrs. Aubrey's boarding house, right next to the feed store--he had friends--namely Donald Murtry, the sheriff's boy and Lizard Ortiz, who also went to his school.  And school, so strict according to the other students, with half-blind Widow Hoverson ruling over the children like a jailer in a military fort, it was actually a lot more lenient and friendly than the orphanage where he'd grown up, where absolutely no dissension or freedom was tolerated.  He had money—exactly how much money only he and the sheriff knew, some in the bank, some at the sheriff’s office, and some in his little room, which he never had to share with between four and nine other boys, getting sick when they got sick, always hearing and feeling and smelling them.

No, he was doing pretty darn good.  He had been living in Trueno for five weeks now,a nd sometimes he would awaken, pre-dawn light seeping into his window, and not remember where he was or what he was doing there.  A handful of townfolk knew he had been the boy sidekick to the famous Lean Rider, who was a legend in this and most Southwestern towns.  As far as most were concerned, the Rider had been called away on a mission for the government, something so dangerous he couldn’t allow a child to tag along.  A couple of folks in Trueno, like Addison McGinty, the mayor’s son, thought that Benny had washed out, he had displeased the Rider so much as to have been abandoned in Trueno, while the Rider went off in search of someone better.

And what was Benny to say to that? That “You’ll see, when the Rider comes back to town, scooping me up to continue my training, to continue sharing his adventures out there in the American frontier?”  Because Jerome Cook, the famous gunslinging hero, was never coming back to this—or any—little town.  He was buried out in the wilderness, about two miles to the east, with only a simple wooden marker with JCLR carved into it.  The grave had been dug, mostly, by a little boy with a constant stream of tears on his cheeks, and the town’s sheriff, Andy Murtry, the only other person in Arizona who knew the Rider’s true fate.
I figured that, if I put this up in a public forum (I considered doing it on Facebook, and still might), that people might hold me accountable to finish the damn thing, and maybe--just maybe--somebody would express interest in a sequel to "Birth of a Sidekick," since I know more than just me and my uncle liked that story.*
So, there it is.  I got an idea one night to do a follow-up to that story, where we meet Jerome Cook's old love interest (one of them, anyway), and Ben acquires at least one more useful skill.   Part of me worried that, if I put up the excerpt, that would mean I couldn't just abandon the story partway through (as I am wont to do), but that I would face Japanese-culture-level shame if I couldn't manage to finish the damn thing.  But maybe that sort of pressure is good, in a way, if it means I work a little harder to get through story problems, apathy, and my tendency to get easily distracted.  Hopefully this is a good story too.
Though, truth be told, even having posted this, I would rather share my "three witches erotica story" in front of a first grade class being taught by my own mother than have to call what's-her-name and try to let her know how much I like her.  Which reminds me: I ought to type that up.  And see if I can find some cover art, maybe with green boobies on it.
Rish "Oddly-Proportioned Rider" Outfield
P.S.  This:


Tom Tancredi said...

Birth of a SideKick was a great story. The world and the atmosphere is top-notch. the character creation, is excellent. Do the sequel! do it!

Journey Into... said...

Rish, I am glad tha you are continuing with Ben Parks, and I look forward to reading the next installment. I don't think I ever told you my idea about the further adventures of your once and future sidekick. (Well I am assuming future...)

I was thinking that you could write a story called "Sidekicks" or something where something big is going down, something that Jerome had been chasing for several years, maybe a nemesis or something. A group of the Lean Rider's former sidekicks gather together, including a gun-toting preist to face the danger, and they start in Trueno to investigate Jerome's last known whereabouts. They learn about his death and discover Ben, who of course bets involved in the adventure as well. A couple of the former sidekicks could be friendly to Ben, a couple could see him as a nuisance, or even blame him for Jerome's death. It could even become your first novel ;)

Anyway, now that I've told you my idea, feel free to forget about it. You probably have your own plan in mind. I'm just a sidekick fanboy.