My book is about a man who has sex with another man in a cemetery near a Catholic church.
My book is laced with profanity and the difficultly digested truth that darkness can worm its way through a weakened heart.
My book deals with piss and bleach and infidelity and marriage and drunkenness and slurred words and dried mascara and manipulative sex and co-dependent love and all those other things that would never work as a Facebook status or yearly Christmas letter.
My book is honest. It is real. It is humanity in its dirtiest form.
So how, then, can it be Good?
We’ve been indoctrinated to believe certain things about Goodness, especially about those who attempt to live in the name of it. They are close-minded, judgmental, bitter little individuals who would rather wallow in their self-righteousness than actually give two cents about you.
For some people is this truth? Unfortunately, yes. But is this what REAL Goodness is all about?
This is the thing: the world hurts which means we hurt. My characters are hurting in their own world. They feel disconnected and cut off and unloved. They feel alone and embarrassed in their attempts to connect. They feel scorned and hopeless.
They just want to be truly themselves and respected for it.
And my hope is that this book is a testament to what I believe. That even when things seem the most heartless and scary and downright suffocating, there are still Goodpeople who want to lift you up and bring you to the light. They want to be the shoulder, the rock, the way. They just want to help, no strings attached.
This is what I want my book to teach. I want my writing to be a reminder that those same feelings of unworthiness boil in the bellies of all of us. And that no amount of make up and staged photos and new cars and cool clothes will ever be able to wash away that fact.
Because when we’re reminded of our humanity and seek it in others, we’re more apt to do the Good thing, the only thing: love.
This post brought to you by the discussions I had in the comments of this post with Jay Wilson and Michelle Terry. And a book that I hope brings peace to anyone who reads it.
I used to watch other people get published and then tweet the living crap about it on Twitter, and then I’d think God, I want to be them.
Because somewhere in my damaged brain, I had already reconciled with the fact that they were no longer human beings but gods of the universe who were given trained aliens on their publication date and these aliens would cook, clean, do the laundry, massage their feet and DVR Property Brothers for them while they were free to pleasantly market their new book.
This piece is part of a round robin story I’m doing with the Bannerwing Write Club. To read the beginning of the story, be sure to visit When and Where at Sure D, It’s All Good.
The name read: Allen Henry Buell.
Her heart, her joints, the sinewy tissue that aligned her spine popped and tore, so one moment Robin was flanked by the twins and the next she wasn’t inside her body.
She was inside her memory.
“Nothing good comes with babies,” her father had whispered when she first told him, and it was worse than if he had yelled it because Robin knew there was a tumor of disgust inside of him, and she wouldn’t be able to find it, to cut it out.
But Robin proved him wrong and gave birth to goodness personified: Eleanor Lynn.
Life was rougher but better. School (tenth grade) where the boys called her a slut, a job at Pickwick’s Pizza where the air moved heavy with oil, then to Mrs. Garrity’s next door to pick up her daughter who loved the woman with gnarled hands and a lovely voice still tinged from her British upbringing.
And then home. It was an interesting word, home, because it was where the blinds were always shut tight and the bitter taste of beer hooked her attention whenever her father said, “Trash. Needs to go out,” from back inside his cave of a bedroom. His doorway vibrated with color and sound from his always on TV set, and Robin would strap Eleanor to her chest to the beat of that noise, the baby clinging warmly against her.
She’d take the cans out in the broken ink jar of an evening and watch the stars, watch the skies for hints of her mother.
This went on for years, three to be specific. And everything was mapped out, rough but better, until the day Robin came home to find her father and daughter missing.
The past ripped through her, sewed her back together while the present battered her body like a pair of angry fists.
“You will pay,” Robin said, balancing on knees and hands in the wet cemetery grass, tempering her nausea against the bitter tang of beer in the air.