Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Gift of Bad Writing, Part 2

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart. At least, it was my heart at age 12. Last year at this time, I shared some truly mortifying excerpts from one of the many epic love stories that I wrote in my pre-teen stalker years, this one about Nick Rhodes, the keyboardist from Duran Duran. I had yet to experience my first kiss, and my notion of relationships were largely informed by soap operas and romance novels. The painfully awkward sex scenes – and there were so many of them – make me blush to this day. At the age of 12, I seemed to think that any moment not spent fighting, having sex, or saying I love you was a waste of time.

Recreating a beloved Duran Duran photo at my 12th birthday party. I'm the one in the hat.

Recreating a beloved Duran Duran photo at my 12th birthday party. I’m the one in the hat.

This past weekend, I dug into the dark recesses of my closet to pull out another gem for your reading pleasure. The plot line is thus: My all-girl band is asked last minute on a six-month tour as the opening act for Duran Duran. Within hours of our first meeting, it’s clear that both Nick and Simon Le Bon (the lead singer) are madly in love with me. And so is my current boyfriend, Michael, who is also my band’s manager. But I know in my heart of hearts that Nick and I are destined to be together, if only we can shake these interlopers, including his girlfriend Julieanne.*

The following scene starts with me pressing a glass up against the hotel wall so that I can listen in on Nick fighting with his girlfriend:

“I just don’t understand! Today, all day, you were laughing without a worry on your mind! Why are you telling me this now? Who told you to say this?” I heard Julieanne’s voice crack as she began to cry.

“Don’t be ridiculous! No one told me to say this, except myself! Yeah, sure, I got advice from a friend, but there is no other girl involved, if that is what you mean!” He paused and added silently, so silently that I could barely hear him. “Well, actually, there is…another girl involved.” My heart sank. “but…she doesn’t know that she is involved.”

“What are you talking about?” Julieanne shrieked with a voice of horror.

“There is this girl, well, actually she is a young lady, who I am very deeply in love with, but she doesn’t know.” I gasped. Now my dreams were hopeless.

“Who is she?” Julieanne asked in a calm but wavering voice.

“No names are going to be mentioned. Anyways, she is very dedicated to this other clutzy guy and I have felt the way I do about you before I even met her! She is not the only reason I want us to cool it.”

“I am trying to be understanding, but what has she got that I haven’t? Is she just some blond flusey (sic) you picked up off the street one night?”

“Don’t you dare even say that about mutter mutter.” I didn’t hear the name. “She is beautiful, she is intelligent, I love her and she doesn’t even have blond hair!” I heard Julieanne whispering something about her changing his mind with one kiss but he screamed back at her.

“That does it! You are even going to stay in this room! I do not want to see you ever again! Take your bloody bags and get out of my life!”

I heard crashing noises and it was obvious that Nick was throwing Julieanne’s suitcases against the door.

“I…I…I hate you for this! Don’t you even come crawling back to me! And if your fluesy (sic) throws you out, you can always find a prostitute to fulfill your needs!” She ran out the door and slammed it behind her.

“God-dambed (sic) bitch!”

I give it about a minute and a half before I go over and knock on Nick’s door. Although consumed by jealousy, I am determined to find out who this fabulous woman he is in love with is.

“I heard you two yelling and after she left, I thought I’d come in and see how you were doing,” I said finally, but still nervously.

“Could you hear what we were saying?” For a minute I thought he knew I had been listening but then it dawned on me that he couldn’t possibly.

“No, I just heard mutters and screams.”

“Thank god!” he whispered under his breath.

“What?” I asked even though I heard loud and clear what he had said.

“Oh, nothing. I was just mumbling something to myself!” After he said that, that was when I knew the mystery lady was me! All of a sudden, I wanted to be held in his arms, kissed by his lips. I knew that if I stayed much longer, I would do just that and where would that leave Michael? So I said,

“I’ll see you in the morning!” and hurried out of the room. I got ready for bed and went to sleep quickly with a very smug feeling. He is in love with me, and I am in love with him, it’s great! Too bad we can’t express our love for each other. I frowned in my sleep at the thought.

I run off but clearly can’t stay away. I am back knocking at his door at 5:30 am:

“Uh, hi. Why are you up so early?” he looked as if he hadn’t slept at all. Not because he had bags under his eyes or anything. He just looked wide awake.

“I had a restless sleep and I suddenly awoke. I took a chance you might be up.”

“I didn’t sleep at all last night.”

“Why not?”

“I was just thinking.”

“About Julieanne?”

“No. There is something I have to talk to you about.” He took hold of my hand and pulled me to where he was sitting on the bed. He pushed my chin up lightly so I would look in his eyes. One arm slid around my waist while his other caressed the side of my left cheek. “I know we have known each other for only a little while, but I feel like I have known you for my whole life. I have been trying my hardest to cover it up, but I really like you a lot, too much to stay friends. I know how you feel about Michael, but I care for you far more than he does. Please, tell me you care about me the way I care about you!” He looked straight into my eyes, almost melting them into nothing.

I pulled his hand off of my cheek and placed it on my shoulder. “Oh, I do care about you! I care about you a lot, I just thought you liked me as a friend because you never really tried anything with me.”

“You thought that I didn’t like you and I thought that you didn’t want me to try anything. You always left before I could anyways.”

“I left because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop you if you did start and I can’t cheat on Michael!” I pulled away from him.

“Michael is a dumb-fuck! He doesn’t have any brains!”

I paused and was silent for a bit. “You know, you are right. He is a dumb-fuck.” I got up and walked to the door. I said, right before I closed it behind me, “If I can get Michael to go out tonight, you’ve got yourself a date!” I rushed down the hall and back to my room to scheme how to get rid of Michael.

Yes, folks, one minute I was too moral to cheat on my boyfriend and the next, I was hatching an elaborate plan to get rid of him for the night so that I could go on a date with my true love.

This story goes on and on for 591 hand-written pages. I know I teased the awkward sex scenes – and really they are some of the best parts of the story – but what if my parents were to read this? I don’t know if I could look them in the eyes again.

Okay, maybe just one. It is Christmas after all. (Sorry, Dad!)

We sat down on his couch. He leaned over and began to kiss my neck. I laid my arms around his back and rubbed my hands up and down. I kept rubbing with one hand and played with his hair with the other.

After a couple seconds, his hands slipped off of my neck and down to the buttons on my shirt. I closed my arms around his neck and pulled him to my lips. Before I knew it, he had my shirt off and was working to find the zipper on my pants.

Since he had practically got me in nothing, I decided it’s my turn to help with the strip tee’s (sic). I pushed him away for a minute.

“Lift your arms up!” He lifted his arms up and I pulled his thick sweater over his head. “You see, if we get caught, I don’t want to be only one with their shirt off, or pants, for that matter!”

“You’re crazy!” He said jokingly, and took his pants off. “Happy now?”

“I would be happier if you took off your shoes and we were doing this on the bed, not the couch!” We got up and went into the bedroom.

I sat up and put my hand over the clip on my bra. I slowly unclipped it and let my tits breath (sic) again.

“Wait a minute, I think I can do without these!” I reached under the covers, took off my lace underwear and tossed them on the floor. “Won’t you do the same?” He took off his underwear. I scooted up close to him and rubbed one hand up and down his hip, while I played with his hair with the other. “This is it,” I told him.

“I know,” he answered and put his lips against mine. “No more talk now, all action.”

“Yes!” He leaned over and kissed me. I opened my mouth wider so he could slip his tongue in and that is exactly what he did. He rubbed his hands all over my body and masaged (sic) my tits. I lowered my hand off his hip down and delicately rubbed around on his d**k (yes, I used asterisks). It didn’t take more than a few minutes before he was so hard up I thought he just might burst.

He started to say something but I put my hand over his mouth, “Shut up and make love to me!”

I pulled him onto me with my arms. We kissed passionately while he shoved himself into me. I felt so good all over and decided that this was real love. I reminded myself to tell him that I love him later.

Okay, I need to go crawl under a rock and wait for the flush to leave my cheeks. Happy holidays!


*Real name of the woman whom he actually married – and later divorced – in real life. Oh how I loathed her…

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Back on the Wagon

This year, I made the very rational decision to skip National Novel Writing Month, reasoning that I should focus on revising my current novel rather than writing a new one. So here’s how I spent the month of November:

  • Organized and attended photo shoots in both Los Angeles and San Francisco for work
  • Drove to Los Angeles to visit friends for Thanksgiving
  • Attended a cocktail party and celebrated a friend’s birthday
  • Visited the Academy of Sciences to check out the skulls exhibit
  • Recorded a new Perspective segment for my local public radio station
  • Slept in, walked the dog, went out for brunch, went out for dinner, etc.

You’ll notice one glaring omission: No writing. Not even a little bit. So in an effort to kick my butt back up onto the writing wagon, this week I’m posting a scene I’ve been working on from my novel-in-progress. Thanks for reading!


Excerpt from Small Legends Part Two: Keith

Most Thursdays after work, I told Pam I was heading to the Phoenix for a beer with the guys. And most of the time I was. Except when I drove out to Alameda to Ol’ George’s Bar. My father’s old stomping grounds. I’d been thinking about the place ever since I’d found out Pam was pregnant.

The bar probably hadn’t changed a lick in 40 years, down to the torn-up vinyl covers on the bar stools and the sun-faded photos tacked up all along the back wall. It smelled like old liquor and ancient cigarette smoke. The regulars were mostly old time drunks who showed up every day at 5 o’clock and stumbled out every night around midnight, their faces and kidneys bloated and pocked with dark purple spots. They sat alone at the bar, one stool between them and the next guy, and stared up at whatever game was on the TV, the volume off, making a comment every now and again about a ref’s bad call or the team’s chance of making it to the playoffs. It wasn’t exactly social, but I suppose it was better than drinking alone.

I took the table by the jukebox.

“What can I get you?”

Ginny’d been tending bar at Ol’ George’s since my father’s day. Her teeth were crooked like a stray dog’s, and her skin was like dried meat but she smelled like flowers. She wore low-cut tops but her boobs hung down so far on her chest, it didn’t make much difference. She was old, sure, but more than that she was practically pickled by years of hard drinking and hard living. Just like my father would’ve looked, if he’d lived long enough to drink himself to death.

I’d picked him out in the old photos from the first. As much time as my father’d spent sitting on one of those bar stools, I’d never stepped foot inside of the place until I found out that I was going to be a father.

The kid hadn’t even come out yet and already I was finding ways to not go home. Just like my father, I supposed. The man had been dead for nearly 20 years but there he was up on the wall, whiskey in hand like I remembered him. Except he looked a damn sight happier than I’d ever seen him. Ginny’d caught me staring at a black and white photo of him and a light-haired woman in a nice dress. They were dancing some kind of waltz. I’d have thought they were in a ballroom instead of a bar except for the jukebox in the background and the cigarettes burning away in their hands.

“Good lord how the time does go,” Ginny said. She was smiling, the creases around her eyes and mouth digging in a little deeper, but she didn’t look too happy.

“That you?” I asked, nodding my head at the photo.

“I never turned down a dance with Harry,” she said. And then without missing a beat, “You look an awful lot like him.”

I started to ask how she knew who I was, but there was no point really. Looking at that photo was damn near like looking in a mirror.

So I said, “I didn’t know he danced.”

Turns out there were plenty of things I didn’t know about my father. Including the fact that he’d been sleeping with Ginny. Not that she said so, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out. As old as she was, her face still lit up when she talked about him.

“Your dad had a special way about picking horses,” she said, “nearly always placed out at the track and then he’d spend it all in one night buying drinks for the regulars. He wasn’t much interested in the money, just in the winning. Very generous man, he was. Such a shame to lose him so young. I won’t deny I cried for a good long time after I heard.” She glanced down at my hand. “You a married man, Keith?”

In my line of work, wearing a wedding ring is a downright safety hazard. I hadn’t worn a ring since my wedding day.

“No, Ma’am,” I said.

Right at that moment, I wanted it to be true. I wanted to walk away from all of it. The house, car payments, the responsibility. Pam. A baby coming along. I was 26 years old, a good fifteen years younger than my father’d been when he drove his car off the road. Was this how he’d felt?

“I’ll bet you’re a real heartbreaker,” Ginny said, winking at me. “Just like your dad.”

I finished my whiskey and said goodbye to Ginny. On my way out, I heard one of the old timers ask, “That Harry’s boy?”

Every Thursday, I’d head over to Ol’ George’s to drink with Ginny.

“Evening, Keith,” Ginny’d say, and bring me a whiskey. “What’ll it be tonight, a little Dean? A little Frank? You know your dad was always partial to the crooners.”

Some of the old timers remembered my father better than you’d expect after so many years and so many bottles of whiskey. They’d talk about the time Harry arm-wrestled a guy twice his size and won. The time Harry bet his whole paycheck on a pool game and won. I figured these stories were half true at best.

I told a few stories of my own. The time Harry slept out on the landing on our building because he was too drunk to find his keys. The time Harry took apart the blender to see how it worked, and then tried to put it back together when he was drunk, only to find half a dozen parts left over. The old timers had a good chuckle and bought me another whiskey.

“That sounds like Harry,” they’d say, grinning through their rotten teeth.

For a few hours, I was just a guy at the bar. Harry’s boy. Not exactly happy, but at ease. For a little while.

Every time I went to Ol’ George’s, I had a choice. I could take my father’s spot at the bar, like the liver-spotted old timers had, or finish my whiskey and go home.

I always went home. I went home and kissed my wife and rubbed her belly and pretended to be happy, so happy that there was a baby on the way.

But I always came back.


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