I have entitled it, Little Boy.
I have written the ending, so now I’ll begin to write the story.
It’s a rather emotional, lyrical story. I don’t want to cheat the pure feelings and thoughts, as I think they come from my core. So, I don’t want to, and will not, force it out of me against some relative time-line.
But I will share it in its entirety.
If you want to read it, as I journey along with the story, simply sign in to subscribe to my blog posts. When I post the next chapter, it will be emailed out.
It’s the best price ever, it’s free.
As to the heart of the story, I think each of us, girl or boy, at some level, wish we could return to being that innocent, curious child. From a time when we didn’t have expectations, we didn’t have experiences, and we didn’t understand, the why.
I still don’t understand, the why.
I get asked on a regular basis, “where do your stories come from?” I’ll answer that the best way I can.
To explain, I think they come from my childhood. My childhood family life was cold, it was hard. It’s was in a constant uproar. We were not a hugging bunch. So, as my wife understands quite well, I can be rather distant, but for a reason. Because I could never reconcile how other families were so ‘happy’, or what this whole ‘God’s unconditional love’ crap was about. I didn’t see it, day-in, day-out, so that instinct tends to ‘stick with me’.
But thankfully, I married well, in fact, I married up, and my London-based marketing folks, (that’s England, not Kentucky) – encouraged me to write blog posts, set up an author website, and get on Facebook. As they told me, insert English accent, “Bobby, if you’re going to be successful, you must be on Facebook, and the like, right, right.”
My wife simply told me, “go for it.” It might amaze you how a simple word of encouragement, from someone you trust with your life, how those words open up the world for anyone to attempt to do something that others might think unwise. It’s easy to be the critic, because you’re hidden in the crowd.
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – share what I write, share what I think, and share what I feel.
It felt like being dipped in bleach. But then after the scars healed, the embarrassment went away, and I’ve kept after it with my author brand. By the way, my nom de plume comes from my favorite boy name, Nathaniel, and my grandfather’s first name, Sewell. (He was a cool dude. He was authentic. He’s the preacher man holding me on his knee in the pasted photo.)
Now, like being at a modern shopping mall, better known as social media, I can obverse friends in their natural habitat with great curiosity, as they miss their families, or their friends, or their pets. Or they show me what they are eating for lunch or drinking for dinner. And I try to share back, so they can observe me, for being me.
So, to answer the question, as to where my stories come from? I write about what I wonder about.
As to the premise behind, Little Boy, I think after a loss of someone, or something that we loved, all we can do forevermore is to remember them. I think that’s the harsh reality. But as we all know, life happens.
But even so, at night, when it’s quiet, and still, we beg to borrow more time. We attempt to negotiate with God for one more hug, one more kiss, one more conversation, or one more, “I love you.” It’s like grasping at the wind, in hopes we might catch it. But we have nothing but our mortal souls to bargain with, as if we can to block the constant tidal surge from smoothing over the sands that marked our existence.
We all try to control what we cannot control. And it sucks.
As my childhood friends from Kentucky might say, “Bobby, it ain’t goin’ ta happin’, let it go.”
A few closing points, I think good literature is timeless. I think good literature speaks equally to children and adults. I think good literature does not insult us, but rather triggers us to feel, to think, as if we are viewing the world through another persons window.
Perhaps this is my homage to two of my favorite books, and writers, Shel Silverstein – The Giving Tree, and Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist. To be clear, I don’t come close to measuring up to either, but I want to express my deep respect for their artistic gifts that they shared with the world. I think they proved that a good book does not need to be north of a 100,000 words, it does not have to be dirty, or polarizing. The magic they shared were in their word choices, it’s that simple, just pick the best, simplest word, and leave the rest behind.
My plan is for the story to unfold from childhood, to being a teenager, and to so forth… Below, I’ve shared the first drafts for Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 … If I ever get a publisher interested, I’ll draw the basic scenes, and I’ll fill in the words to show the story. And I know there will be the endless edits, the mis-spalled wads, poor gram. They always happen because I’m human.
Feel free to share it, share comments, share feedback … After all, it’s just my art.
An unblemished boy was hidden deep within his dream as he walked bare footed without fear along the grass path that zigzagged between the forests trees. His path marked with colorful dandelions, daffodils and daisies. He squinted his eyes as it was the darkness just before the dawn, but it was blanket warm with just enough gray light cast between the fresh limbs for him to see his future.
Even though he was a little boy, he was mature enough to sense he was being watched from behind the green leaves, and the tangled evergreens. Beneath the branches there were no dead leaves or jagged rocks near the soaring tree trunks that were hugged by a moist green moss that carpeted the forest floor. It flowed over the rocks, and it surrounded an active rocky waterfall that sounded like warm shower. It was the perfection from a new life that he had never seen.
After awhile he stood on the muddy brown bank near a clear stream that ambled further into the woods. It was stocked with plentiful goldfish and green turtles, the stones had been smoothed over from times constant current. He stepped into the cool water and he waded across to the other side to separate himself from those that watched him. He had learned from experience to always be aware and to avoid danger. But as he emerged from the water, he realized his white cotton pajamas were not wet. He was as dry as the moment he had gotten into bed. He stared back across the stream at the darkness behind the trees. And he noticed the grass path was now gone and he heard laughter coming from the forest.
“Who are you?” the Boy said. The forest was quiet, but for the breeze that whistled through the tree branches. “I cannot see you, but I know your over there.”
After awhile, from within the darkness a voice.
“It is your dream,” the Voice said. The Voice sighed. “You must choose forever more, you have many paths, you have many dreams, but you can never go back.”
The boy stepped back. He bit his lower lip. He stared back toward from where the path had been, but now it was overgrown with a wall of tall grass. To his left the stream coursed toward yellow light.
“I don’t understand,” the Boy said. He crossed his arms.
“Close your eyes, as your eyes are already closed,” the Voice said. “Now dream within your dream what you want us to be, and then tell us what you see.”
The boy looked down at his bare feet. He closed his eyes, and then he opened them. And as he watched the other side, a playful golden retriever sprang from the darkness as white doves landed along the tree branches.
“I want a doggy,” the Boy said. He grinned over at the dog. “But I can’t have one.”
“I’m not just a dog,” the Golden Retriever said. It curiously looked over at the boy as its furry tale wagged. “I’m your friend. I’ll always be your friend.”
“But I don’t know you,” the Boy said. “You can talk?”
“Yes you do, you’ve always known me. I can do anything you want me to do,” the Golden Retriever said. It scratched at the green turf, and the turf scar was quickly healed. “See, this is your dream. Because you dreamed for me, there are more friends here, you just need to dream us alive, like you dreamed for me, and the fish, and the turtles and the birds everything you see in your minds-eye.”
As the boy tried to understand his dream, a dandelion emerged from the moss to grow between his feet. It grew, and it grew to stand tall on its single stem just below his knees. But as quickly as it had grown, and flowered, it sacrificed its yellow flower life to transform into a giant blow-ball, as if covered with hairy white mainsails.
“What should I do?” the Boy asked. The birds cooed and nodded down at the dog.
“Do what you wish,” the Golden Retriever said. “Wherever you go, we will follow.”
And the boy had always wanted to blow on the seed-head and watch the stems float away like foam bubbles. During the springtime he had watched them from his window, the same window he had watched summertime fireflies light up the evening night. But he had never left his room. He stood behind the dandelion, he sucked in a deep breath and he blew. As the pedals detached from the stem, they enraptured the boy, as they caught the eternal wind that flew him like a collection of hang gliders toward the dawn. The Golden Retriever ran from the other side below the boy. The doves flew above and to the side, joined by blue birds and red cardinals. No matter how high he flew, the boy saw the dog was always within his sight. He was never alone. The stream snaked between the trees and the moss until he landed within a flat meadow covered in grass and flowers. But at the center of the meadow from where the stream bent into the dense forest, a massive willow tree beckoned the boy as he landed beneath its canopy tent of branches. The out of breath Golden Retriever sat back on his hind legs, his pink tongue waggled from his mouth, but it appeared to smile over at the boy. The birds landed along the trees limbs.
“Come fish our waters,” the Willow Tree said. “Look near my trunk, a wooden fishing pole we made just for you, and only you, I made from one of my branches.”
The little boy grasped the fishing pole. He touched the thin string, and examined the tiny hook where a brown worm wiggled at him.
“I don’t know how to fish,” the Boy said. He looked closely at the happy worm.
“We’ll show you how to fish,” the Willow Tree said. “Dip the worm into the stream, and watch the goldfish take the worm. As the fish takes the worm, pull back, and take the fish.”
“But they’ll eat the worm,” the Boy said.
“It’s what I do,” the Worm said. “I’m not afraid, cast me into the water, after the fish takes me, I’ll be reborn into another of your dreams.”
The boy dipped the worm into to the stream.
And the boy awoke from his dream.
The little boy was no longer a little boy, but a handsome teenager. But within his dream he would always be seen as a little boy. He would feel like a little boy. When he looked into a mirror, he had grown taller with thick hair and girls had begun to notice him. But deep inside, he missed that unblemished little boy as he had begun to feel the painful scars from life. He had thought of his dreamy friends often, but within his sleep he could not find them, until one night, deep asleep within his dream they all reappeared beneath the willow tree branches that set near the bend of a calm, clear stream.
“We’ve missed you little boy,” the Golden Retriever said. It panted at him as it sat back on its back paws near the willow tree trunk. “Have you missed us?”
“Are you real?” the Boy asked. He touched the tree’s hard trunk, he waded into the stream with the goldfish and green turtles only to reemerge dry as the moment he went to sleep. “Dog’s cannot talk in life, I should be wet from the water. Why did the worm have to die?”
“But the worm did not die,” the Willow Tree said. He waved its branch down at the boy’s bare feet. “Dig with your hands into the ground, tell us what you find.”
The Boy scratched and pulled up the green turf to reveal the hidden world below, it was the worm, the worms family and families of worms all hard at work burrowing within the fertile soil.
“I told you I would be reborn into another dream,” the Worm said. It wiggled. “Do you want to go fishing?”
“No,” the Little Boy said. He began to cry. “Why can’t I be a little boy again?”
The Golden Retriever lopped over to the boy. It nudged at his leg, and curled down onto his back. “Pet me.” It pawed at the Boy. “If you pet me, you’ll smile.”
After a moments hesitation, the boy kneeled down and scratched the Golden Retriever along his soft belly, and behind its furry ears. And the boy smiled.
“How did you know?” the Boy asked. He wiped his face as he stared up into the blue sky
covered with fresh clouds, and encircling birds above the Willow Tree.
“Why did you cry?” the Voice asked.
“Why have you come back?” the Boy asked. He looked around but saw nothing new, just the trees, the dog, the fish and the turtles. “Where are you?”
“I’m everywhere, I am always here, near you,” the Voice said. “Why did you cry?”
“Because I’m lonely,” the Boy said. “I don’t have a family.”
“You’re an orphan,” the Willow Tree said.
“What’s an orphan?” the Boy asked.
“An orphan lacks living parents, but you are alive,” the Voice said. “But we are all orphans to our destiny, each journey we face alone, as I told you before, as we walk we have many paths, many dreams, but you have to choose forever more.”
“But why can’t I be a little boy again?” the Boy asked.
“This is your dream,” the Voice said. “Perhaps within another dream you’ll understand why.”
And the Boy awoke from his dream.