Sunday, December 17, 2006

Putting It Out There To See If It Sticks Or Slides...

I've been looking at "Sam's Day Off" with fresh eyes and did a rewrite on its first two pages. I won't overload this blog with page after page (I'll use Blowlog, teehee) but I was looking for earnest feedback. Think of this as throwing the start of that novel against a wall to see what happens. If it sticks, it stays, if it slides, it ends up on the floor a big mess...

Sometimes I get the feeling I am one half measure off the beat of everyone else, and I was just wondering if that was occuring here?

Anyway, a review of two pages won't kill anyone...

I even posted a pretty picture. CREDIT TO--

***** SAM’S DAY OFF *****

4:42am.-- Big City Lights

Nearly two hours before dawn on a cold November moonless night, there was light where there should have been darkness. Where a hand should have been invisible to a groping set of eyes, one could see the hand, lightly lit and as curious as it ever was.

Big City lights had removed most mysteries from this celestial darkness. The hands were just hands before faces now. Hands-- like a blind man‘s hands-- that once splayed outward toward the disconsolate darkness, now held light lightly cupped in each palm nearly two hours before dawn.

The once dark Big City night had been replaced by Big City herself. The crowds had come in and brought their fixtures. The city and its populace had grown and gathered and the lights had come on ten by ten. Once dark and fearful open places were now Laundromats and late night convenience stores and all night diners and streets well lit and houses under bright surveillance and cars and trucks and buses that sent out paired and focused beams of bright white light as luminescent scouts then followed them thereafter.

There were lights shined on almost nothing all over Big City as if nothing mattered. Lights shined on empty, fearful spaces. Spaces where darkness once struck fear like matches, but nothing hardly ever burned. Spaces that needed light to quell the fear, but lit, showed empty, innocent spaces. Big city nights were ablaze in light that did nothing but tell us there was nothing there. Nothing there but fear and the fear of fear. Nothing there but Big City light and empty, well-lit spaces, perhaps a paper curling here, a blowing box there, a few garbage cans standing quietly half empty and half full., an empty bike rack with a lock attached, a brick wall, or lots of oily asphalt.

Much fear and the fear of fear, in Big City, had been conquered by the flip of switches.

On a cold clear moonless night in early November, the glowing aura of the Big City metropolis had long become a well-lit wonderland of fluorescent, neon, and incandescent light. It shined across once dark spaces and glowed in multi-colored filtered shades of rainbow hues. It left one wondrous while drinking bag wine high up above her looking down-- while admiring her majesty and her glaring brilliance-- how in the world did she get this lit?

Smaller sparkling twinkling distant glows held stories in their shine, as light streamed through time and over places and told us tales and spot lit human doings and comings and goings like reflections in the eye of a super fly’s eye on a well-lit wall

That golden window held a small boy dreaming.

That amber streetlamp held tomorrow’s stickball game and last night’s call to supper.

That low-beamed car a baby screaming its first newborn baby scream in an hour and a day.

That neon scrawl an illicit night not home and a trip to the lawyer in a month from now.

That dull blue glow a storefront to be burglarized by bungling boys on drugs and an arm removed with a store clerk’s shotgun shortly soon thereafter.

And all those porch lights....

Those worrisome, conical porch lights everywhere, spreading their worry all over Big City. Those porch lights were the bright vanguards of bad things feared. The harbingers of dark imaginings. They came on at the first signs of dark sunless evenings. They waited till dawn to disappear. They were the true bleak manifestations of a well-lit atmosphere. Their light representing the darkness within the hearts and minds of Big City residents. The porch lights said “we are afraid”. The porch lights were a sign that gave us all away.

The sheer volume of light that sparkled and glowed from Big City nights-- displacing all the dark and frightening ancient spaces--- had all been hung by working Big City residents that no longer dealt or gripped or manipulated within this darkness. Each light was a compilation of enormous labor, over time, driven by the fear of that ancient darkness and the knowledge of the nature of light itself. Every dark corner emblazoned with an amber light or white light or blue light or a neon rainbow hue. Where there was once much mystery and anxiety and foreboding at this time of night, now there were garbage dumpsters and fences and alleys and green reflective highway signs and business signs and signs of progress and signs that we were no longer afraid of what we could not see in the frightening dark.

Like moth holes in a woven blanket held to sunlight from a dark place, Big City was also a display of its own malfeasant twinkle and sparkle. The most brightly lit things the darkest and least enlightened, it seemed at first look. The prison in the distance. The freeway shopping mall. The Tip Top Tavern titty bar with its huge bright neon pair of beer pitchers (jugs?) outpouring non-stop neon frothy head behind a parapet

There were well-lit signs everywhere too. Signs of progress and signs of explanations. Signs of destinations and signs of things. There were signs to help you to get on and signs to help you to get off. Signs all well-lit in white light well-meant, lighting up the dark moonless night and helping you see your hand before your face.

In Big City, lights were a placeholder for daylight and a surrogate for things feared. We all feared differently, but we all relied on light in combat of darkness like we all relied on some form of faith in combat of a scary predicament.

I had faith I will continue to live.

I had faith in myself.

I had faith in the inevitability of death.

I simply had faith.

Faith was also believing in the light switch. Faith was believing in the true light forthcoming every morning at dawn. Faith was believing that the darkness was temporal, a simple condition broken by the rising of the sun. Faith was believing in incandescent or neon or florescent ingenuity. Faith was a porch light not turned on.

Faith was invented anew by the likes of Franklin and Edison and all the curious others. Faith was held aloft by archaic sects with modern machinations.

Faith was believing in what was illuminated. Faith was believing in what was too dark to see.

Faith, it seemed to me, was a contradiction. Faith was like a well-lit Big City late night day on a dark and moonless night.

The Big City Central Square clock was ticking.

It too, was lit for all to see.

It now read 4:45am.


Nancy Dancehall said...

Cool. Where can I email my review? I don't want to take up too much space here. Or email me nancy_dancehall at yahoo.

I love this piece -- that's the short of it -- but I have some longer comments.

Anonymous said...

I'm dying here.

You need to get yourself a hobby Scotty.

Shirley said...

Well done, Scott. I like it. I sure hope you are serious about a book. You certainly have the talent.

Stucco said...

As if you weren't busy enough- Tag!