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In a modern twist of fairy tales,
what if the beast is a woman instead of a man?
I was about to find out when a mysterious job led to the secluded home of a horror novelist. Iâd lost everything: my scholarship, my education, and my way. In denial of my family inheritance, I took the unusual employment as a chance out of a hole, but I found myself buried in the unknown trauma of another situation much deeper.
I had changed my name and my address to keep myself hidden, but my scars were more than physical. Living as a recluse in the woods, I was used to being alone, so I wasnât happy when a certain someone was always in my space. Our first encounter was less than pleasant and tension continued at every attempt to tame me.
I knew she was keeping secrets and I wanted to help, but she was cutting me down and cutting me off every time she opened her mouth. Our frustration with one another grew until a misunderstanding changed everything. How can I be the next guy after something so tragic? It was a challenge I wasnât sure I was willing to take.
Iâd like to say I was always a writer. Iâd also like to say that I wrote every day of my life since a child. That I took the teaching advice I give my former students because writing every day improves your writing. Iâd like to say I have my ten-thousand hours that makes me a proficient writer. But I canât say any of those things. I did dream of writing the âGreat American Novelâ until one day a friend said: Why does it have to be great? Why canât it just be good and tell a story?
As a teenager, I wrote your typical love-angst poetry that did occasionally win me an award and honor me with addressing my senior high school class at our Baccalaureate Mass. I didnât keep a journal because I was too afraid my mom would find it in the mattress where I kept my copy of Judy Blumeâs Forever that I wasnât allowed to read as a twelve year old.
I can say that books have been my life. Iâm a reader. I loved to read the day I discovered âThe Three Bearsâ as a first grader, and ever since then, the written word has been my friend. Books were an escape for me. An adventure to the unknown. A love affair Iâd never know. I could be lost for hours in a book.
So why writing now? I had a story to tell. It haunted me from the moment I decided if I just wrote it down it would go away. But it didnât. Three years after writing the first draft, a sign (yes, I believe in them) told me to fix up that draft and work the process to have it published. Thatâs what I did. But one story let to another, and another, and another. Then a new idea came into my head and a new storyline was created.
I was accused (thatâs the correct word) of having an overactive imagination as a child, as if that was a bad thing. Iâve also been accused of having the personality of a Jack Russell terrier, full of energy, unable to relax, and always one step ahead. What can I say other than I have stories to tell and I think youâll like them. If you donât, thatâs okay. We all have our book boyfriends. We all have our favorites. Whatever you do, though, take time for yourself and read a book.