Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Depths

Pin It I love that word.

So deep. So cavernous. So full of meaning.

Delving is also a word I find captivating.

So, what do these words have to do with tonight’s blog post?

To surmise, I have decided to take part in the ‘six files in and six photos down’ thing which currently seems to be sweeping the Blogger scene. I will be honest, I feel much better about something of this nature rather than the ‘tagged’ epidemic, which seems to happen quite too often.

Six down.

Depths.

And so I share a photo on my external hard drive with the world. However, it would not do to share a photo and not explain just why it is important because, to the untrained eye, it is simply a hallway.


To the learned observer, it is the story of a story—in the making.

And so I expound…

A score of years ago I had an idea for a book. This was during the time I was working at the Newport Cinemas. When an idea could come, I would write on paper towels, old movie schedules, and just about anything I could lay my hands on. After all, I was going to be a great writer, and would need to keep all of these ideas for future award-winning novels.

This particular idea was about a boy with a brother who never talked. He’d talked a few years before, but then something happened which caused him to stop.

I had nearly the whole story worked out, and had even started to write it when everything came to a grinding halt. The story wasn’t going anywhere, and it soon came to rest in a box I have…it’s a medium-sized box. It’s white. It’s filled with page after page of notes, unfinished stories, and ideas. They’re all in that box…a lifetime of ideas which have filled my head since I was 12 or 13 years old.

In that box it sat.

And sat.

And sat.

The years trudged on, and the little story was all but forgotten, lost amongst the remnants of narrative accounts, vague characters, and remitted thought.

It was several years later that I stumbled again across that box.

I removed the lid and peered inside, seeing all of these literary treasures which many others would undoubtedly label as trash. As I pulled out napkins and scratch paper, the ideas which had percolated in my brain years before came rushing back to me like a burst of summer wind.

The story, “My Brother, the Mystic” emerged from the box…all the tattered pieces.

As I read over what I’d written years before, I found myself laughing at my writing style. So many characters dealing with the issues of growing up and life…in a way it was pathetic.

Yet as I made to toss the manuscript back into the box, the idea simmered once again, like steam rising from a mug of coffee. In this manuscript there was a story yet to be told, to be written.

I turned on my computer and, looking at my old notes, I began to write.

However, there was a problem. How could I send a character off to a new life at a new school across the United States where I myself had never been?

I couldn’t.

It wasn’t long afterward that I planned a trip to Jefferson City, Missouri and decided to do a little ‘field research’ for my story.

I found South Elementary School which had a specialized deaf unit. It was from here that I began to scour the neighborhoods to find Kevin’s ‘home.’ I talked with a group in charge of a particular neighborhood where immigrants had come to the area. It was a perfect setting. I soon found the house in which the main character lived, and explored every nook and cranny, writing copious notes from which I could write my story later.

I learned about the butler’s staircase and about transoms. I learned about the molding framing the rooms, and the vaulted ceilings. There used to be a tree in the backyard. It had long-since been cut down; however, in my story, it would live yet again.

Across the road was the battered, old elementary school. Now housing contracting offices and other businesses. It looked like a prison.

This would also be in the story.

The notes and photographs took up pages and pages. I explored where Kevin would go to be alone, the cemetery next to his elementary school, and soda fountain where he’d go on a special outing.

All of these notes would be carefully used for writing my final masterpiece.









And so it is now later. The story, practically nothing like it was so many years ago, sits on a hard drive. It is currently waiting for me on chapter 6. That’s as far as I got out of the 11 planned chapters. Each of the sections is carefully planned, but still unwritten.

Yet it sits, in the depths of my hard drive…waiting for me.

It is not six files down…but farther, nestled in a cluster of microchips and sophisticated microcircuitry.

So this is the photo of which I share; the hallway of Kevin’s school. A school where he finds himself questioning the love of his parents, the concern of a teacher, and most terribly, the love he has for a brother who has caused him to be uprooted from the life he once knew.

For you who’ve read this far and have not gone away just yet, I share with you the ‘blurb’ which I had planned to garnish the back cover:


As I sat on the bench I pushed away Ryan’s hand as he tapped me, trying to get my attention. I instead turned away and tried to ignore him, but the more that I tried the harder he tried, too. Finally, I blew out a breath and stared at him. “What do you want?” I demanded, as though saying the words would do any good.

Ryan told me he was thirsty and pointed at a drinking fountain across the park. “Fine,” I motioned for him to go.

Ryan grinned that silly grin of his and ran across the park, detouring from his path long enough to chase a few seagulls picking through an old Wendy’s bag someone had left on the ground. The birds took to flight and Ryan paused to watch them for a minute before continuing on to get his drink.

Watching Ryan run through the park he seemed no different than any other six year-old. He got mad when I took his things or wouldn’t pay attention to him, he liked watching cartoons and would laugh when the characters would do funny things, like get smashed into a wall and then look like their body were an accordion. He hated brussel sprouts and hated to take a bath as well.

Ryan finished his drink and wiped away the water which had run down his chin. He began to run back to me with his arms outstretched like he was flying. As he neared me I stood from the bench and signed to him that it was time to go home. Ryan nodded and then tried to take my hand—I shook his hand away and thrust my hands in my pockets so I wouldn’t have to talk to him or hold his hand either. You see, Ryan, was deaf.

8 comments:

Valerie said...

Sounds wonderful, Jason. I'm eager to read the final product!!

Kris said...

I'm am so impressed! It is going to be an amazing book. If you need promotion down here in these schools, when you are done, I will help! Great Job!

Bee said...

It's sounding pretty good. My son rides a bus with some deaf children. He would really enjoy this book. Hurry up and finish writing it so you can get it published! :)

annette said...

Hum...this does sound good. It must be, because I find myself wanting to read a little more.

Someday, I would like to read a book from a deaf person's perspective too.

Gerb said...

I know plenty of places around here you can visit if being around Deaf kids will give you some inspiration...

It's so close. Keep writing!

K.J. said...

I look forward to reading it! You are so talented!

mywest said...

My Brother the Mystic...when does it come out? Its time for you to write more and perhaps Miya could do some illustration? But I'm waiting for your current works.

sammisue said...

i am totally going to read that even if it isnt finished. ok i really cant stop thinking about your book. Mr. I'm going to stop by one day and i'm going to want a copy.

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