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Monday, March 14, 2016

The Writer's Life 3/14 - Changes

Correction: Yesterday I cited the Chicago Democratic convention riots as being in 1972. They were in 1968. Mea culpa. I'll have to eliminate the erroneous reference I made to it in the novel I'm working on. A writer should always verify, especially one my age.

Without having watched a single minute of play this season, I've made my picks for the NCAA BB tournament, which seems wide open. In most match-ups I selected the higher seed. I have Kansas defeating Michigan St. in the finale, based on newspaper articles I've glimpsed the past few weeks. I couldn't have been any more unconventional and unimaginative. Although many of the athletes are fake students, it's still a great event. Heck, I may even watch a few minutes here and there.

Also in sports -- what a difference an off-season makes. Golfer Jordan Spieth was red hot in 2015 and has been almost ice cold so far in 2016.

It rained in NYC today and I made productive use of being cooped up in the apartment. Reworking the manuscript I began in November 1975 and completed a few years later has been challenging and fun. I've gone through 455 of the 639 page hard copy, which has been reduced to 155 pages in MS Word. Today's sessions were slash and burn, 20 pages pared to two. Not only bloat that was addressed. One scene has the protagonist, a college lit instructor, having sex with a student in his office, which reflects where my mind and hormones were at the time. Here's how it reads now. The time is mid December 1974:
   On the final day of the Fall semester, Tom was seated in his office, working on final grades. He hadn’t even looked at the most recent papers he’d assigned. He evaluated each student by previous work, giving the benefit of the doubt to those who fell in between a B and C. He was still stingy with A’s.
   The door was slightly ajar, kept so for a measure of privacy. The crack informed others he was present and available for discussion, provided the matter was of importance. Finished, he leaned back and closed his eyes, hands behind his head. He was dozing when someone knocked politely.
   A young woman stepped into the room, furry coat draped over her arm. She was tall, lean, sharp-featured, her chin, cheeks, nose and elbows rather pointy. Her medium length sandy hair was cut in a becoming shag. Neither plain nor pretty, she projected a robustness that made her attractive.
   “Hi, Cathy,” said Tom warmly. “What can I do for you?”
   “I’m dropping off my final paper. I’m sorry it’s late. Things have piled up in my personal life.”
   “No need to worry. You’d already earned an A. Besides, anyone who wears an MIA bracelet gets special consideration from me.”
   She lowered her head, obviously troubled.
   “What’s wrong?” he said softly.
   “My brother’s MIA,” she choked. "Some days..."
   “Have a seat.”
   He stepped past her and closed the door, then poised himself beside her at the edge of the desk. Tears were pouring from her eyes. Tom caressed her shoulder, ashamed he’d fantasized about her sexually. When are you gonna grow up? he thought, recalling how he'd almost lost Kitty.
   “He was a helicopter pilot.”
   “Those guys saved our butts so many times.”
   She looked up. “Really? You were there?”
   He nodded. “Just about all of Sixty-nine.”
   She took a tissue from her bag. “I’m sorry. I’ve just been holding it back for so long.”
   “I’m the last guy in the world you’d have to apologize to about this. To me, anyone who served there’s a hero.” Except you, he said to himself.

   He let her stay as long as she needed to gather herself. He didn’t know what to do other than to let her cry. When finally she rose she kissed his cheek, said “Thank you,” and hurried away. Eyes glazed, hands shaking, he wondered why he had survived and more worthy men had died. Believing it was God’s plan seemed ridiculous.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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