Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What's my Book About?

So anyway, Alaska Bike Girl posted this on her site.  Here's part of it:

"I was tagged in a post by Katey, one of my friends who is also a writer, and a disciplined one at that. Katey did a post on "The Next Big Thing," a blog hop where writers from around the world share what they're working on by responding to ten questions. Am I supposed to tag someone? If so, I'm going to tag Uncle Gus, who is also working on a novel. Alright, ready or not, here is my entry to "The Next Best Thing." Before I begin, did I mention I'm also working on revising my novel? I am."

So there ya go, in case anyone is interested.  Yeah, Gus thinks he might be a writer someday.  But really, he's a day laborer.  And an errand boy.  Yes, often an errand boy.  I'm the guy folks call if they need a ride, or a pet sitter, or parent sitter, or a cat coaxed down from a tree.  And perhaps you, gentle reader (Hahahahaha!  I've always wanted to type that!) have surmised this from my writing.  And for the most part, I'm fine with my place in society.  Well, except when the bills don't get paid on time, or when I can't afford a beer.  But, like I said, I'm fine with it.  I've seen some of the options.  And somebody has to do it.

But back to the writing thing.  Alaska Bike Girl sent a list of questions, and I answered them.  I don't have anyone to tag though.

"But Gus!" you might exclaim.  "Where's the Food Revue?"  Gosh, I just don't have one today.  I don't get out to eat much these days.  Did Gus mention that he was as poor as dirt?  But I did get locked in the men's room at a local tavern this past weekend.  Oh, you're intrigued already, aren't you?  And who wouldn't be interested in the White Trash Adventures of Gus?  Anyway, my friend, P, was in a mood and wanted to get out for a beer after the third week of darkness and rain.  So we emptied the change jar and left.  No, I ain't a-gonna mention the name of the tavern.  I go there more often than the others.  Anyway, we got to the tavern.  We ordered beers.  IPA.  Oh, my, they were good. And there were a few people there who were good company.  We ordered refills.  I had mine half gone and went to the mens room.  So far, so good.

And the door to the mens room has had a bad latch for a long time.  A year?  And so the cylinder has been taped shut for at least that long.  Duct tape!  So really, just the friction of the tape holds the door shut.  Well, that tape finally tore through when ol' Gus was in there.  I grabbed the knob, the door knob, (yes, I washed my hands!) and turned it, and all it did was spin in my hand.  Jeeze.

I could hear people out there, at the far end of the room at the bar.  They were laughing, having a good time. I could hear stools shifting out there, and bottles being set on the bar.  It sounded fun out there.  And it sounded like too many people for me to start hollering that I was stuck in the bathroom.  But there was a beer waiting for me.  What should I do?

I remembered I had car keys in my pocket.  I pulled them out and tried sliding them between the door and the jamb.  No luck.  Then I looked at the hinges.  Hm.  It might work.  I took the key and slit it under the head of the hinge pin.  And pushed.  And pried.  The tooth of the key finally slid under the pin and I pried it up.  It came easily after the first quarter inch.  Yes!  I was so cool!  Gus had control of the situation, he was in charge, he didn't need to call for help.  Gus had that cocky self-confidence that comes from a pint and a half of good beer.  He dug into the next hinge.  It came up easily.  I set it on the sink with the other.

The third hinge didn't move.  I worked at it for a while, and realized that my hands were covered with grease.  And the grease was flecked with shiny bits of metal from the hinges, metal scraped off from years and years of openings and closings.  I didn't care.  I had a mission.  I went at it again, working the key against the pin, trying to get a purchase under the head of it.  No luck.  The key slipped and scraped a knuckle.  I kept working until my fingers were raw.  I finally beat on the door a couple of times.  Nobody heard.  They were too busy laughing and talking and having a good time.  I went back to work.  I scraped and pried and sweated.  My hands were slippery with grease and sweat, and my shirt was growing wet.  Didn't anyone have to use the bathroom??  The key slipped again, and a sliver of metal slid into the pad of my index finger.  It slid through the grease and the skin and halfway to the first joint, it seemed, leaving a tip too small to grab.  I finally gave it up.  This was ridiculous.  I had a beer waiting, and people to visit with.  I finally beat on the door again, during a lull in the noise out there.  A moment later I heard footsteps.

"You okay in there?" called the bartender.
"Yep.  Just locked in."
"Shit.  I have to get a key."  His footsteps retreated.  I put the two hinge pins back in and started washing my hands.  By the time I was on the second lather, he was back, working the lock.  It took a while, but it finally clicked open.
"That damn thing should have been fixed a long time ago," he said.
"Yeah."  I left him, and went up to finish my beer.  The bar was almost empty.  The people we were visiting with had left.  P asked what happened.  "I got locked in.  Stupid door."  We watched the bartender grab a fresh roll of duct tape and go back to the bathroom.  He was back a few minutes later.
"Well," he said.  "I hope you weren't traumatized."
"Only a little," I told him.
"Well, maybe a free beer will help?"
"I'd say that would do very nicely."

Okay, that was my big adventure.   Back to the book.

What is the working title of your book?
 "Before I Go."

Where did the idea come from for your book?
The idea came from my experiences working on the house that I live in, and the realization that I could live to be hundred and still not have all the work it needed finished.  And I got to wondering, what if a person did want to leave, just ditch it, but couldn't, in good conscience, until everything was done?

 What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary fiction.  Yeah, that sounds right.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The two main characters would be played by Edward Norton and Jeff Bridges.  Well, a younger Jeff Bridges, but still with the Lebowski look.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Yow.  Let's see...A recently single and directionless man goes to work with an alcoholic carpenter who suddenly seems to have a secret second life.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It would have to be an agency.  I just can't see myself self-promoting.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About a month, once I got all of my notes together.  I don't know how long it took to write the notes out.  A couple of years?  And I did the typing over a month that I was "between jobs."  It kind of kept me from hearing the wolves at the door.  Oh, they were still there.  I just didn't hear them.  Much.

 What other books would you compare this story to within this genre?
"Nobody's Fool" meets "The Great Gatsby."  How's that for pretentious?

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I was in a really excellent writing group, and the others, one in particular, were actually doing something with their work, and so sitting down and typing mine up was really an act of desperation to catch up with them.  Sadly, for me, the others have moved away.  I need to get another group started.  I know they're out there.  I've done some looking around, so far with no luck.  But I have hope.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? 
I've gone with the themes of loneliness, friendship, loyalty, loss, perseverance, and hope.  I like the idea that even people who seem to exist on the ragged fringes of society have a need to search for not only a physical place, but a place in their minds and in their souls that justifies their existence.  Friendship can get us through many things.  Friendship can give us the strength and the will to persevere and to hope and to grow.