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My Novel

At the edge of the waves, at the rising tide, where the surf dug a cliff of the sand, a father was flying a kite. His daughter of nine or ten is digging a hole, arm deep, water filling from the bottom, scoops of mud pulled out one by one. His son stares at the sea. He is seven or eight, and he stares at the sea. His father asks if he wants to fly the kite. His sister asks if he wants to dig. “I just want to go fish.”

His name is Javier or Julian, Emiliano or Felipe and he just wants to fish. He is a young man of nineteen and he is out on his boat. His father is an accountant, or a lawyer, and he wants him to go to college. He presses. They don’t talk. He is a man of thirty-five, and he fishes. His sister has moved far inland. She wants him to visit. Stay. Meet a girl. She says she loves him. She worries.

He is fifty. His nephew calls. Wonders when he will visit. He is fifty five. His father calls. He has not seen him in ten years. Fifteen years. They draw near, fall away, decide to connect, find their egos, fall away again.

He is fifty-eight. His sister has died. She had an illness. Or an accident. She lingered, gave in. He wasn’t there. He is sixty-one, his father makes a last call. His son answers but all he hears is the sea.

He is seventy, and the waves roll up and down. The horizon fades. This is the novel. But I know nothing about fishing. All I know is the child we passed as we walked the beach. He said something. Six words. I heard him. This is the novel. But I don’t know what to write.

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Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Writing

 

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What a Twit

Follow me, please, on my new Twitter pagehttps://twitter.com/adamtritt, for info on all my books, events, reviews and give-aways. See you there!

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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My Latest Radio Interview: Songs from the Well on Livication Radio

My latest radio interview was on the inaugural broadcast of Livication Radio. In it, we discuss writing, my bestselling book Songs from the Well, Bud the Spud, life, death, and moving forward after tragedy.

Broadcasting from Melbourne, Florida, from inside Open Mike’s, from within Florida Discount Music, Livication Radio has interviews with musicians, authors, and much much more both local, national and beyond. You can listen live or to their podcasts.  And Open Mike’s has some of the best organic coffees and coffee creations I have ever had, plus, they are a magnificent small venue for music and spoken word – comfortable, cozy, great acoustics and amazing talent. Plus, you can walk around and play with all the instruments. Who could want more?

And they had the good taste to interview me, so, what more can I say?

Listen-up folks.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Books, Writing

 

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My Book, Tellstones: Runic Divination in the Welsh Tradition, is an Amazon Bestseller

My First book, Tellstones: Runic Divination in the Welsh Tradition, is an Amazon bestseller. Of course, it took a fan writing me before I knew it. So thanks!

And thanks to all of you who have bought it. And thanks to all of you who have not bought it yet, but are about to.

Now, let’s work on making my other books hit the top as well. It takes all of us, and, if you are a writer, let’s support each other. Buy, review, and blog each others’ books!

 

My work, poetry, essay, creative nonfiction and more, can be found in various anthologies as well as my books, The Phoenix and the Dragon: Poems from the Alchemical Transformation (Smithcraft Press), Tellstones: Runic Divination in the Welsh Tradition, and Bud the Spud, which may be found at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and elsewhere, for you reading needs, whether you like to hold books in your hands or read them on tablets or phones or Kindles or Nooks or, goodness gracious – so many options.  You can find my author profile on Amazon and please find me as well at GoodReads.)

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Books, Religion, Writing

 

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Progeria: An Exercise

Progeria: An Exercise.

I had thought I had written about a singular experience. It certainly was for me.

I sent this essay to a friend, Craig Smith, to look at. A fan (I am delighted to say) and a trusted editor and critic, I wanted him to take a look. I expected advice, suggestions, some way to fix a grammatic gaff. I must have expected, or suspected, something or I would not have sent it.

It’s good. I think the revelation of the progeria was a little overdramatic; so many people have seen kids with progeria on talk shows (Maury Povich had one on nearly every week, it seemed) that your shock–or your character’s?–while
understandable, doesn’t need quite the big build-up.


What? On TV? So popular culture and the media has desensitized America to what, in my life, was an experience that sat upon my memory in a way unlike nearly any other.

What did I reply?

Hmm… Interesting as I have never seen a child such as this since. This is the only one. So it feels real to me but will not translate into the culture because of talk shows have widened the exposure of most people to things that I have little exposure to.

In other words, what I find a novel and shocking, many people have become inured to. So what seems overdramatic, to me, is actually my process of realization. But it is not reading that way to those who have more experience than I.

What else has pop culture ruined? Now wonder we no longer shudder at gross injustices and horrific torture. No wonder we have so few heartstrings left to pull.

But, still, I felt I could pull the essay off. I’d like for you to be the judge.

Please read. There’s a quiz at the end.

*****

I don’t remember what year it was. The mid nineties, perhaps. I was working as a skip tracer, finding people who had run out on sizable debts, dropped financial responsibilities, were hiding mobile homes, trailers, boats and whatnot-of-size from repossession. I found them, someone else hauled ‘em, arrested ‘em, collected ‘em.

It was a great job. Lots of day trips, I nearly never got a Doberman set on me or a shotgun pointed at me. Rarely was I shot at.

I was chasing a trailer. I think it was in Florahome, or nearby, where we would go to pick blueberries and scuppernogs. Where the sandpears grew. East-central north Florida. I was on the hunt. I scammed the records, recorded the address, and found the narrow washboard road in a short space between the live oaks.

It was a long slow drive. I stopped from time to time to let the newly-hatched wild turkeys follow their mothers across the road. Slowed to watch the dear in the thick. At length, in the distance, I saw the trailer. Continuing slowly, I pulled into the small space in front and checked the description. It fit. I got out, went to the door and knocked.

It was a singlewide and shorter than the norm so, after the initial knock, it took no more than a few moments for me to notice the creak of approaching footsteps. The door opened and I was greeted by the smallest old lady I had ever met, saying hello, puffing though stringy white hair and wrinkled mouth, in the voice of a young girl. Resting on the knob, an ancient hand.

I asked to whom the home belonged and she answered in words a child would use. From behind her, a young woman approached and, as she neared, spoke to the elder as though she were not aged, not senior, but barely of experience. As though she were her child.

And the old lady answered as if she were, indeed, a child. Her child. Then, I knew, this was not right. So far from what I could have possible expected, I did not grasp the facts through the seemingly paradoxic cues. Something was wrong in an order of magnitude I could not comprehend in the scant time I had. But my body reacted even as my mind slowed and halted. Perhaps I could not keep my face. I remember my stomach tightening, my diaphragm rising toward my chest. My body knew.

The taller woman was her mother. The first person to the door was her child. This was an old child. She looked ninety. She sounded ninety. Her words and behaviour were nine.

Her mother asked her to go back inside while she remained to talk with me. I could require no explanation but needed one. What I had just seen did not fit. It was something I could have thought would come from a horror movie, from a science fiction film. Here it was. I could not ask but needed to know. She could see that.

She was nine. She told me this. She started aging at two. She would die of old age by eleven. It was called progeria. They moved out of town because they could not stand the idea she would spend her short life growing old to the cruelty of children, the whispers of adults and the stares of all eyes.

And so here they were – out in the country, one fewer job, a family, a ninety year old child.

I could not say don’t worry. I could not say everything would be ok. There was little I could say but good bye.

I know she expected, in the next day or so, to lose her home in the forest and the anonymity of the woods. But, that I know of, that never happened. The records were lost. Markers disappeared. Officially, I never found the house.

I was reminded of this today. I cannot say quite what the connection was but it came to me of a rush, strong and vibrant. I, of limited visual memory, have the meeting of that child as one of the few clear visions I retain. I feel it as though it were fresh, new, shocking. It remains one of the staggering moments of my life. It was important in a way I cannot still fully appreciate. It lasts.

It came to me last week. When my mother was telling me she might have herself trepanned and electrified to fight her Parkinsons. That she might have breast cancer.

And it came to me again today. I held a rabbit in my hands. In the overbearing heat, in my yard, a rabbit, running, running, then not, small tongue, darting in and out and then still. Then stiff. In my arms, how much it seemed sleeping.

Good night little girl.

*****.

So here are the questions:

Do you think pop culture has experiential essays, such as this, less effective?

Does your knowledge of the disease lessen the impact?

What worked and what did not?

Is there anything you would change?

Comment please.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2007 in Culture, psychology, Social, Writing

 

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House of Books

I had the illusion I was brought up a in house of books. I had that illusion in the same way I had the illusion my mother went to Harvard. In reality, she went to Harvard in the same way she knew the Kennedys. I discovered in my early twenties my mother had attended Harvard Secretarial School, rather near the University of that name but not quite that university, and she lived some blocks from the Kennedys; neighbourhoods in Boston can change rather abruptly.

My father had attended college as well. He would tell us stories of his five-year quest for his associate degree at Sam Houston Institute of Technology, later to have changed its name to Sam Houston State Teacher’s College. We disbelieved the tales of bull riding and jerking cars into reverse at eighty miles per hour to drop the transmissions. How believable are such tales told by a man who was a teen on a farm in upstate New York who was a boy born on the streets of Brooklyn?

Some time in my late teens we traveled to Texas for an Amway convention. We stopped in Hunstville, Texas to visit the folk he lived with while in college. They lived in a small home off a main street in the small town near the prison. It was a home numbers with a half numeral, full of knick-knacks and smelling of old-stuffing in the chairs and that nothing could be moved except to be dusted and put right back again, same place, measured and maintained.

While there, I was told tales of bull riding and jerking cars into reverse at eighty miles per hour to drop the transmissions. I was told how, after four years he was told by his parents he had one year to complete his two year degree. A year later he was called to come home and back to New York he went, his back having be rodeo-broken twice, the college bank having been closed by the parents. And back up to the big old stone house he went, no degree.

Such people do not normally fill a house with books.

I had the illusion I was brought up in a house of books. It’s just most people had fewer books than we did and that was a bit of a shame because we didn’t have that many. We had a few books of poetry, rather old each. A book of children’s verse contained my favorite poem, “The Duel (The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat)” by Eugene Field. An old copy, quilt covered, of Tales of the Wayside Inn, a huge red book of games, and a few more books of varied sorts. My grandmother, living with us from my earliest memory, had some books but I was not to look at them. One was Valley of the Dolls.

I remember my father attempting to throw out the history books en masse exclaiming they were old, the information had changed and they were of no use. He failed until the year after I moved. Then, out they went.

It appears, the books in the house grew out of my desire to read, not anything genetic. I learned to read at the age of four; not exactly the age of prodigy. It hurt. My first book was Duck on Truck. I later read Curious George and various Dr. Seuss. My mother taught me to read. According to the docs I was supposed to go blind. I had just learned to walk a year earlier. Now I was reading and crying about it but, cry as I did, I read and read more. I read no matter how much it strained or how my head ached. Little has changed.

Reading seems to be the thing to do. I had little eyesight for sports and less desire for it than sight. The TV was on constantly, tuned to Hee Haw or the Dukes of Hazard or The Jeffersons. Music was on when the TV was not and we listened to 30’s and 40’s pop, big band, classical or country. I had nearly no experience with Rock and Roll until high school. “My Sharona” was hardly a song to draw me into a life of loud music and the common corporate pop-culture.

And so, against this I pushed with my books. I am a solid proponent of Drive Theory.

Later on, The Eagles and Pink Floyd would grab me, The Kinks would shake me but never hard enough to dislodge John Denver. The first 45 I bought was The Archies singing “Sugar Sugar.” The first 33 was an EP of “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” by B.J. Thomas. My first album was by Helen Ready. My second? Read on.

I collected “Big Little Books” and poetry books. Soon I had books in my room on the night table and the floor and on the dresser. This is about the age of seven, or so I am told and, thus, my recollection of living in a house of books.

It seems we sometimes had more books than food. I have verified this as a fact wanting to make sure my memory has not played tricks on me. I would ask for a book and, if it meant not having a particular food item, we ended up with the book. Why not? I still grew older and overweight. I carried this tradition on when, in my early twenties and a struggling young married fellow, I picked up a leather-bound copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when we had no money set aside for milk and bread. I discover, later, we were allergic to both milk and bread so, in the long run, we were better off. Besides, twenty years hence, still we are here, still is the book as well and where would the bread be?

Before I was ten I had a collection of folktales and myths. I had devoured all the poetry I could find and had a collection of Campbell, Jung, Erikson and, strange for my age, Richard Bach. My second album was Richard Harris reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

At some time in my late single-digits I happened into a golden-age science fiction novel. I was a goner. It was probably Asimov. It might have been Clark or an early Heinlein but, for the sake of the argument I am having with myself over this, it was Asimov. I have three shelves of Asimov, one shelf of Clark, one of Bradbury, and on it goes. As I said, I was a goner.

I remember putting in an order for a copy of Foundation’s Edge weeks before it was due to come out. I thought that would be the only way to get one. The year was 1982. I was nearly the only person in B.Dalton Booksellers in the now defunct Skylake Mall. There was no line. Just me, at seventeen, putting in my bit of cash and my mother putting in the rest. School ended the illusion other kids read. Pre-ordering Foundations Edge ended the illusion adults read.

I remember the moment I decided I was going to write. I recognize it as a single instance which, while reading, I realized I wanted nothing more than to write and, at the same time, knew I did not. I was reading “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Bradbury from The Martian Chronicles and thinking I could never, no one could ever, write better than that. I had thought so of Poe. I still know this to be true, but here was Bradbury, a live human, writing better than I could hope to, writing beautifully, in words with melody and meaning and sound and sight and I could never write as well as he. Poe was dead one hundred and forty years but Bradbury, he was a live person. Why try?

And I read Teasdale, Levertov, Benet, Snyder, Frost, why try? Cummings (I never know what to do with the initial letter in his name) stopped me cold. I could never write as well, never write as well as they. And I was correct. I knew that. I still do. I can never write like they did. But, I also realized, I didn’t like everything, each and every bit, they wrote. Some things I did like better than others. There. There was my opening. Skill or no skill, some things I liked better than others. Some poems, some stories struck, resonated, made sense to me where others fell, thudded and laid still no matter the skill employed.

I can never write like they can, but I can write like I do. And some of my work will fall, thud, lay still on the soil, decay. But some, some may resonate, strike, make sense, germinate, grow in someone’s soul. Some will live for the reader. It might not be the writing I think it should be. Who am I to judge an unfinished work since, without the reader, what work is complete? If some of my work sings with melody and meaning, sound and sight, just some, then I have done something. I have done what Bradbury did. One day someone may listen to my work and think never, never could they write that well.

Once more I had that experience. Once more I knew I could never write that well. While riding one late-past-midnight, headed home from a full-moon revelry, my wife and I down a twenty-mile road from Jonesville to Gainesville in Florida, we turned on a non-existent, according to the FCC, radio station playing from Gainesville. Music, commentary and, right now, poetry. I listened to the poem being read and found myself at full attention. The sound and the rhythm, music and meaning. I thought, what is that? Who wrote that? My wife must have seen my face. She nudged me. “Don’t you recognize that?” I didn’t.

“That’s yours. You don’t recognize your own poetry?”

And it was. It was mine and I recognized it then as my own. It was “Recognizing Kali in a Young Girl,” I was the writer and I was the reader or, in this case, the listener. I completed my own circle. Had done so unknowingly. One day someone listened to my work and thought never, never could they write that well. One day, it was me.

I can’t write as well as some but I can write as well as me. If I work hard, practice, listen, learn, read and write, some day, they will be the same.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2007 in Books, Education, Family, Poetry, Writing

 

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