Home Stretch

by

I just got back from an editing session at Odette & Aime.

I have one chapter left to edit in Baby Girl.

One.

I am exhausted.

I had not a thought to dinner and wound up making oatmeal for supper.

Oatmeal, it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

Sunday, markets are not open, not much is, I could have swung through the out door market I rode my bike past this morning, but I did not have the fight in me to muster through the crowds on an empty stomach.

I decided to ride my bike back to the hood and get lunch at the house.

After ward, I went to the cafe and I edited my head off.

I really am tired.

It is emotionally draining, as I have stated before to get transported to that time in my life.  So much misery, so many challenges, so much fear.

It is amazing I got out.

Corinne confirmed it with me last night, I really am lucky to be alive.

Alive to fight another day.

Alive to write another day.

Despite my tired body and weary brain, I am quite elated.  The book is almost done.  I feel like the end needs a bit of tweaking, but I don’t want to muddle about with it.  I am too close to it and I need a fresh pair or pairs of eyes.

I have two people confirmed to read, both of whom said they would be critical.

This is good.

I need critics.

I do not need friends.

Bless my friends, I do need them, but I need honest, critical, this works, this does not work, objective eyes.

John Ater assurred me he would tell me.

I cannot believe that he would not.

The other person said, “you may not like what I have to say.”

Excellent, that is the answer I want to hear.

Yes, I also want deep praise and love and I want to hear that it is good.

But I know that it has flaws.  I know that it can be a better book, a better read, and a better telling of the story with more editing and some clear cut criticism.

I don’t actually want to hear it, but I do want this book to succeed.

I really do.

I have worked on it for years now.

Years.

I am ready to move onto something else.

Speaking of which.

I finished a short story after I got done with the editing.  I did not know that was to happen. I felt a bit drained after the last chapter in Baby Girl that I worked on, I did not know that I had more words in me.

I did.

I used the facillities at the cafe, recalling the drole voice of the little drunken older lady with the bad skunk die job who had a pint at the bar while I was working.  She was slurring her words and the staff just rather humoured her and ignored her while she drank off her draught.

She mumbled, in French, about the gymnastics of getting down the stairwell to the W.C.

I chuckled.

The waitress chuckled.

The bartender chuckled.

The old lady hollered up the stairs that she could hear us all laughing.

We all smiled at each other.

I sat and read some John Fowles for a while, knocking off another good chunk of The Magus.  It is taking me a bit longer to bat through it than I thought it would, it is a big book–656 pages.

One of the critics, raving about it, says, “I read it all in one go.”

You must have had a few days completely free to do nothing else.

I am on page 424 and will probably finish my own book before I finish The Magus.

It is good Metro reading, though.  I do like having a book on the Metro, I do.

A song came on the radio in the cafe, I thought I might write to it.

Sometimes, often times, music will inspire me to write, a poem usually.

I thought a poem was going to come to mind.

Then I remembered the last time I had edited at Odette & Aime and I had written a poem then.  I flipped through my notebook, found it, and opened up my Word application.

I noticed the short story there I had started.

I read some of it.

I edited a sentence.

I cut another.

I wrote a line.

The next thing you know I have written the missing part of the story, taken out the superflous junk, and now have another short to add to my collection “The Atrocious Alphabet”.

Thrilled.

Here it is (I have put it in italics should you like to skip it):

The Amadeus Apple

  

  I stood in front of the gleaming golden apple.  I could not believe that I was here, at long last.  I had won.  I was going for a ride in the Amadeus Apple.

            My luck had finally changed.

            The side panel was opening, like a large slice being pulled away from the fruit.  My eyes widened taking in every detail, I must write them down later.  I never want to forget.  The mechanism so beautiful and glowing with its own light, the way it shimmered impressed itself onto my shielded eyes.

            The dark goggles on my face blurred out the worst of the glare that it emitted as it warmed up.  One could go blind from watching it too long—that had been discovered the first few times it was utilized.  Not that the knowledge was common, no one wanted to be reminded of the grim scar tissue and the hollowed out eye sockets of the men and women that had their eyes blazed out by the shine.  Not that going blind was the worst thing that could happen any longer, either.  The world had moved on and to not see what it had become would have been a blessing for some.  I did not wish to loose my sight, yet, however.  I adjusted the dark lenses strapped to my face. I wanted to see where I would be going.

            No one believed that it would really transport you to a time in the future when the Earth had recovered from the devastation of the fall out.  The stories abut the Apple foretold a clean future, where the seas had been restored and the skies cleaned and the food palatable again, the grass green, not scorched.  It was too good to be true.   I remember what my mother said about things that sounded too good to be true.  I knew it was propaganda handed out by the government.  But seeing the Apple advertised on the side panel of an Army land tank I had chosen to believe nevertheless.

            No one wanted to stay in this time any longer.  There was nothing left.

            Getting out was my only thought.

            I wanted to go for a ride in the Amadeus Apple.

            I had walked from the West Coast of the continent to the South Eastern side, many miles, many adventures through the underworld and the sudden rising of the Midwestern sea—the Great Lakes had conjoined after the blast had carved out the main lands of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

            No one had known until after the bomb had been dropped that the major think tanks of the world had been housed in Central Wisconsin, it would have been laughable to consider, the brightest minds gathered together in the middle of the middle West eating cheese curds and figuring out how to create world peace while drinking cold beers and engaging in an outdoor barbeques of Johnsonville Brats and German potato salad.

            It had certainly surprised me when I had heard the whispered stories of how the apple had appeared.  I had grown up in Wisconsin.

            They, the Institute, had known that something was about to happen, when the Amadeus Apple had, according to the legends of the road, materialized briefly on the lawn of the compound outside of Waukesha. 

            One day it had settled, out of thin air onto the thick, verdant, green pelt of lawn.

            A large apple shaped object, shimmering with peacock light, vibrating with the sound of Mozart’s last symphony.

            The music of the spheres does exist.

            The Amadeus Apple stopped spinning and the in habitants of the compound had gathered round.  They all went blind.  A blessing they said, later, as they were all spared the sight of the land being swallowed into the crater that had been the Midwest.  A blessing they said, having been given new eyes by the Government that glowed in the same shimmering lights as the Apple.           

            I stood, shaking with anticipation, my skin already irradiated from the music flashing into my skin from the speakers.  I recalled all the tales I had heard.  I trembled with exultation.  They were true.

            I was ready.

            Ready to go forward into a brand new world.

            I stepped into the slice of apple.

            I did not pass Go.

            I did not collect $200.

            I did scream.

The End

I frankly, was delighted.

I edited a chapter in the book.  I finished a short story.  I wrote some inventory.  I read some “light reading”.

I went for a bike ride.

I ate some dinner.

Yes, it was oatmeal, but I like oatmeal.

Not a bad day.

In Paris.

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