Time Off Part Deux: ‘Obsessive Edit’

December 10, 2021

Here this late-afternoon Friday, the blog calendar has run seventeen days without a post — my longest period of no-posting in well more than a year, maybe longer — and returning to the InterWebs with a bit on a long-time personal project now nearly 30 years in the making. Hence, an ‘obsessive‘ urge to maybe finally finish.

In the summer of 1994, I wrote the first draft of my one-and-only novel, and I did so by doing nothing more than taking two/three days of my own peculiar, particular life at the time, and just tweaking the living-shit out of them. According to Merriam-Webster, the word, ‘tweak‘ means ‘to pinch and pull with a sudden jerk and twist,’ and also ‘make usually small adjustments in or to‘ whatever is being tweaked.
Although the main character in the novel falls in love with a murder victim after the murder and narrates the weird-ass shit to make such a freaky-tweak-like thing happen, he is surrounded by pretty much my own personal life, revised, energy-charged to make the mundane exciting, and worth a read, yet still be real.

If my memory is correct, by mid-summer I’d enough of a manuscript with characters and storyline to come-up with a title, “Brown-Eyed Girl With A Cold Corona,” and with continual editing, expanding chapters, segment revisions, the final version was copied/typed from my notes onto clean, easily-read hardcopy pages in late 1999. And for various reasons and circumstances, then spent more than 20 years languishing silently in a cardboard box from Poor Richard’s Press.
Two years ago, my daughter, Hannah, scanned the typed pages and the manuscript eventually ended up in my Google docs, where I put the finishing editing touches to it. Once completed to my near-satisfaction, and following some consideration and thought, decided on self-publishing (though, I never tried the established agent-to-publisher route) via Outskirts Press, which sent me a last writer’s edit right before the Thanksgiving holiday.
And I became so ‘obsessive‘ in editing that I really couldn’t/didn’t have the energy to write about horror and bullshit off current events and then try and be creative in polishing a way-personal tweaked-out tale from 27 years ago. I e-mailed my Outskirts author representative the finished product just a little while ago.
Corona‘ will be listed in the genres of FICTION/Literary/Fantasy/Romance/maybe even Paranormal.

Hopefully, maybe publishing date of late winter/early Spring.

This is a possible front-and-back cover of my book:

Novel background from a synopsis found on the back cover:

Life can sometimes alter course in a finger snap. One second existence seems normal, the next, an out-of-step leap beyond the imagination. A night bar-hopping during Spring break on the California coast shifts from the typical to peculiar and strange in scant moments.
As if out of thin air, she was suddenly sitting close, leaning inward at the little table, her face directly at him. Large, brown eyes intimate and captivating, demanding full attention. The bar’s loud, swirling noise of music and muffled chatter seemed to have quickly vanished into shadow.
Easily, he closed off everything with total focus only on those liquid-brown eyes. In minutes, he fell completely head-over-heels in love, gobsmacked like a virgin little boy.
However, in just a brief, single tick when he’d once glanced away, she vanished. So astonishingly quick the episode, he never got a name or a telephone number. And other people had seen her in the bar, so she was real. Or was she? Such is the beginning.
In an ensuing couple of days, he tumbles like Alice down the rabbit hole. He’s no virgin little boy, but middle-aged and fighting the loose tendrils of a mid-life crisis — divorce, children (for instance, he occasionally smokes pot with his 15-year-old daughter), intense guilt about everything, and booze, all combined for close-call disaster. Yet petty compared to the wondrously-haunting hallucinations he encounters created off that one night with the young woman,
An illusory mystery revealing a murder, though, in an abnormal sequence.

And a more-in-depth summary reportedly slated for the book’s Amazon/Barbes&Noble sites:

Spring break mid-1990s in a small California beach town. A middle-aged man suffering a ‘mid-life crisis’ meets a young woman while out barhopping with a friend, and in less time than it takes for a few strokes of a Corona bottle, she creates an emotional whirlpool that will threaten his sanity. Yet will eventually lead to uncovering a murder.

Narrated in nearly-stream-of-consciousness by the man as he spends the next couple of days floating through a movable bubble of strange, but wondrous daydreams beyond his imagination, spiced by illusions of the young woman. Engulfed within those hallucinatory outings still churns the ‘crisis’ he is experiencing — divorce after a longtime marriage collapsed, then financial ruin, followed by guilt over not being there for his children, chaos made the worse by booze.

A mental state also intensified by his desire to creatively write again, dabbling even in poetry, a literary form he hadn’t messed with for near two decades. And also discovering he can cry too easily.
Instead of employment at a level with his age, his life’s work, and education, he’s chief night cook at a popular Italian pizzeria in Pismo Beach, an old, old guy compared to his way-youthful co-workers. However, he develops a knack for the phrase, ‘Yeah right,’ and the music of 4 Non Blondes.
Spring break at a pizza joint is beyond the concept of pandemonium, yet he handles the pressure, though, in a whining-like poise. Despite the restaurant getting slammed, and all the rush, disorder, and craziness that comes from it, the young woman makes two visionary visits, once playing out the scene at the bar — near-insane situations he conceals by playing dumb, which as it turns out, is quite easy.
Along with the cook’s job, he also occasionally prepares legal documents for his friend from the bar, a lawyer who’s reeling through a similar ‘crisis’ of divorce, and child guilt, who can’t seem to stay sober. In a short time, the two had developed an intense camaraderie of oddball misery — listening to their conversations one would think they were illiterate rednecks, cussing everything, and using the most-horrible grammar. Nonetheless, they’re ‘best buds,’ so in the words of the cook/writer’s 15-year-old daughter, with whom from time to time also shares a toke or two off a joint.

Two days following the meeting in the bar, and after a county courthouse visit to file a motion in a nasty divorce case, he encounters the young woman on the sidewalk, finds her to be much older in age, and too, carried a long-forgotten footnote tied to his distant past. A sensual trek through a seemingly hallucinogenic-like wormhole into a nostalgic neighborhood fabricated from a youthful, maybe more-secure time, generates an unraveling criminal scenario.
In like manner, he faces an abhorrent sacrifice in obtaining justice for that story.

A mystery is a mystery until it’s not. Visually written, “Brown-Eyed Girl With A Cold Corona” is a quick-paced exploration of life and love through the years, even beyond murder, with knowledge of the crime elucidated by the murder victim.

My author bio on the back cover also contains the ‘tweak‘ scenario: ‘In crafting “Brown-Eyed Girl With A Cold Corona,” I took two-or-three days in my actual life in the mid-1990s and just hyper-tweaked them to generate the flow of the plot. Although now retired, I’m a former newspaper editor/reporter and a wannabe creative writer since my early teens.

And there will be updates as we plow ahead. Stay tuned…

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