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The Writer's Life 6/9 - Excerpt

My luck was on automatic pilot today. It started early, when I finally got around to checking my mailbox. The last of the survey checks I'd been expecting had arrived, so it was time to hit the bank. I was in the money even if I didn't sell a thing at the floating bookshop. Then, when I got home from the supermarket and did my weekly check of online stats, I saw that someone had purchased a hard copy of Killing at Amazon. Thanks, whoever you are. It seemed like my luck had run out by mid day when I had to wait 40 minutes for a parking spot to open up, and then when it began sprinkling. I pulled the books under a tree and covered them in plastic, hoping the light rain would be brief. I saw blue in the distance. As I was waiting, Bad News Billy showed and asked if I had a copy of Killing with me, which he had me inscribe to his brother, an educator. Thanks, my friend, and also to the young white male who purchased all the religious books I displayed once the sun returned. Three of them were English/Spanish/Korean/Chinese versions of The New Testament.

Here's the first page-plus of an unpublished novel, Present and Past. At the time I was intrigued by how the past was always with us on a personal level. I also wanted to explore a character that believed in nothing but himself, and his contempt for goodness.

"Fred Canto?"

"Right here," said a tall, dark-haired, well-groomed man, ris­ing. He squeezed through the cramped space between the rows of seats, carefully lest he trample toes, inwardly amused at the irony, as the trampling of toes seemed what it was all about here.

"From the top."

He climbed onto the small stage, script in hand. The sleeves of his flannel shirt were rolled up to his elbows, revealing forearms of a wiry muscular definition. He had no idea how to tackle the part. He thought the writing weak, colorless. He sens­ed it was comedic, but wasn't sure. The actors who’d preceded him had shed no light on the subject, nor had any of those still awaiting a turn. He'd encountered many of them at previous audi­tions. None seemed comfortable, although he suspected some might have been playing dumb in order to gain an edge. He doubted the play would ever escape the tiny theater. He was kept in place by a shred of uncertainty as to its worth. He would hate himself if it turned out he'd turned his back on a work destined to become a cult classic. Besides, he'd been told by his teachers that any audition was valuable. In ten years, how­ever, he'd yet to grasp of what value they were. He was no more comfortable now than he’d been at his first open call, but he kept at it, determined to land a role, however insignificant, before he died.

"Okay, we'll call you," said the director, scanning his notes.

"Yeah," Freddie scoffed, louder than he would have liked. He paused, stunned at this rare loss of self control. He'd allowed his inner voice to betray his feelings. He was averse to showing emotion to people who weren't important to him. The director was staring at him. Freddie avoided eye contact. Several of the actors were covering their mouths, amused, pleased that a competitor had eliminated himself. How he hated them. He stifled the urge to protest. What good would it do? He'd given his best. If three minutes was all they would allow, why should he be upset? The hour he'd spent commuting, the two wait­ing, would have been passed in bed. He'd rather be up, doing. He didn't want to sleep his life away. There wasn't time enough any ­more. What difference did it make if he didn't earn a living as an actor? He still had his classes, where he performed the work of masters, not hacks. Fame didn't matter. It often had nothing to do with excellence.

Sour grapes, he told himself, hanging his head as he reached the exit.

Visit Vic’s sites:
Vic’s Third Novel (Print or Kindle):
Vic’s Website: http://members
Vic’s Short Story Collection (Print or Kindle):
Vic’s 2nd Novel:
Vic’s 1st Novel:
Vic’s Screenplay on Kindle:

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The Writer's Life 6/10 - Win, Win
A TRIBUTE TO RAY BRADBURY by Salvatore Buttaci

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Monday, 15 April 2024