The Book Within Me

Some people think big. Big hopes, big dreams and big efforts to make those hopes and dreams come true. Me, not so much. I think modest at best, small more often than not. It’s just my basic nature, and always has been.

dulcolax-imagesMy great pal Alan, though, has a different opinion about my abilities. For example, he has urged me a few times to write a book. He, one of the handful of faithful who to my amazement truly seem to enjoy at least some of the stories I’ve been lobbing into cyberspace via this blog, believes I have it in me to design and bring forth a thriller. He has suggested that the plot be set on Cape Cod, a region I know well. Alan is a dreamer. Does he have any idea how I often strain and sweat like the King Of Constipation to squeeze out a blog entry of a mere 1,000 or so words? Alan, if you’re reading this, believe me when I say that daily doses of Dulcolax wouldn’t make those articles emerge any easier. So, a book, you say? Hey, man, are you joking? My inner strength and energies would have to quadruple before I’d be able even to begin entertaining the notion. Basically, fuhgeddaboudit.

Hmmm, on the other hand maybe I speaketh too hastily. I often do. No doubt writing a book is an alluring idea. Could it be that Alan is on to something? Has he peered deep into my core, à la Superman, and spotted an alternative me? As in the bestselling me. The me whose tightly wrought and pulsating fictional offering projects me into television and radio studios presided over by the likes of Charlie Rose, Terry Gross and Jimmy Fallon. Yeah man, I can dig it! Who wouldn’t? I mean, the royalty checks will be pouring in. The invitations to swank A-list parties will arrive by the dozens. Gorgeous girls will mob me on the streets. Yeah, I definitely can dig it.

OK, Alan, you’ve convinced me. The book is within me. Somewhere. I think. All I have to do is birth it. What should the first step be? Oh right, there needs to be a plot. Well, in that regard I’ll try not to think about what another of my great pals Dave once said. He and I went to high school with Arthur Agatston, who years later became famous as the author of The South Beach Diet books. Dave was wowed by Arthur’s success. “Neil, I’d write a book too,” Dave said to me back then, “except for one thing: I’ve got nothing to say.”

img_0370Ouch! Like I mentioned I’ll try not to think about Dave’s insightful comments. I’ve got plenty to say, don’t I? And placing the action on Cape Cod, a 70-mile-long spit of land filled with villages, sands, marshes and trees, surrounded on three sides by majestic, endless waters, is certain to inspire my writing. Think, Neil, think. What’s the most unusual and intriguing aspect of The Cape you’ve come upon over the years? I know — the dune shacks, those 20 or so primitive structures scattered among the ridiculously huge dunes of The Cape’s outer regions. Folks like Eugene O’Neill and Jack Kerouac and Jackson Pollock used to squirrel away in the shacks, seeking their Muses and churning out product. These days the shacks are in governmental hands, and are rented to modern-day hardy and artistic types (click here to read about the dune shacks). The shacks are isolated, not easy to find. The perfect scene of a crime.

Ah, the crime. What shall the crime be? Who will be the perpetrator, and who the victim? And what will be the reason that the crime occurred? You know, I believe it’s all coming together for me. Suddenly I’ve been zapped with a giant squirt of inspiration. Here goes:

img_0383I’m going to model the narrator/possible victim upon myself. Why not? I’ve gotten up close and pretty personal with several of the dune shacks over the years, walking around them, peering inside through their windows and admiring their no-facilities ambience. And for years I’ve been dreaming of the day when I’ll be spending substantial time in one of the shacks and its surrounding desert-like wilderness. Oh, the joy of peeing and dumping in sand pits or in the Atlantic Ocean! My life needs a major dose of that kind of back-to-nature reality.

Anyway, getting back to the plot. The time is autumn 2016, a Monday at 9 PM. The narrator, who goes by the nickname Cod Man, has been living for seven weeks in a shack located close to where the dunes peter out and meadows of beach grasses take over. A hop, skip and a jump beyond the grasses is the roiling Atlantic. Cod Man’s stay, per the rental agreement, is slated to end in one week. That situation is making Cod Man very nervous, because he had been confident that his shack experience would result in the creation of the book he’d put on the back burner for the past 10 years. Instead, the book, a novel about a Pennsylvania man whose world falls apart when his dog abandons him to take a job as chief mascot in Moscow’s Grand Hotel Trump, simply isn’t coming together. The reams of paper upon which Cod Man has been writing are, he fully knows, filled with dreck. “Holy crap!” Cod Man yells from his wobbly writing desk. “I’ve been out here for two months and have zilch to show for it. I’m bummed. Totally bummed.”

Moments later comes a pounding on the shack’s door. Standing outside in the moonlit night, a loaded pistol in his right hand, is Dick Hedd, Cod Man’s next door neighbor in Pennsylvania. Dick has tracked down Cod Man and is out for revenge. You see, three years earlier a friendly two-man game of Scrabble at Cod Man’s house had gone highly sour when Cod Man, upon throwing down two seven-letter words (halfwit and jackass) in the course of the evening, began to gloat. His gloating grew louder and wilder, reaching insane heights. Dick Hedd, certain that the seven-letter words were meant as commentaries on his personality, fumed. He stormed out the door before game’s end. And he never forgot or forgave Cod Man’s arrogance. The gents hadn’t talked since then. All the while, Dick waited patiently for his moment to avenge the foul deed. Among Cape Cod’s dunes that moment had arrived.

Little more need I say at this point. I have the book’s remaining plot lines worked out quite well. Everything fits. Everything is meaningful and believable.

Now all I have to do is write the entire story. Soon I shall begin.

 

(Don’t be shy about sharing this article or about adding your comments. Thanks.)

(Cape Cod photos by Sandra Cherrey Scheinin)

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54 thoughts on “The Book Within Me

  1. Martin February 1, 2017 / 2:30 am

    You should totally write a book. Maybe not THAT book, but definitely something. Your descriptions of Cape Cod are very emotive so starting there makes a lot of sense. This is probably the worse writing advice ever but I wouldn’t worry about a plot. Start with a guy in one of those shacks, write about him and then tell his story. The rest of it will come.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Joyce February 1, 2017 / 8:16 am

    Can’t wait to read the book which l know will be made into a movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David Davis February 1, 2017 / 8:59 am

    I still have nothing to say!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. greenpete58 February 1, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    You can do it, Neil. My friend (another Dave) never wrote before, hated English, rarely reads fiction, is a software engineer, and he completed a book. The first draft was pretty dismal. He asked me to review and edit, which I did, so the second draft is even worse. But… people love crappy fiction these days. If your book is crappy, people will buy it. If it’s good, which I think it will be, people might buy it anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. aladec February 1, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    Write it. You are a good writer. It took me five years to write my memoir and I only did it because my mother had Alzheimer’s Disease. It doesn’t matter if it’s any good or not; or weather anyone likes it or not. It only preserves my memories. Right now I am working on a fiction work about ( yes, just another) serial killer. So far, I think it sucks. But one never knows. Tom Wolfe, who was one of my patients, told me that as he went along in the process, he thought everything he wrote was no good and needed periodic pep talks from his friends to finish his works.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 1, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      Hi. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I’ll need many, many pep talks before this potential project has any hope/chance of starting.

      Like

  6. sniderjerry February 1, 2017 / 6:57 pm

    Groucho Marx said, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

    I’m looking forward to reading your book. All the best. Jerry

    Liked by 4 people

    • yeahanotherblogger February 1, 2017 / 7:10 pm

      Hi, Jerry.
      Please don’t hold your breath. I’ll keep churning out stories for this blog. But a book? Only time will tell.

      Like

  7. cincinnatibabyhead February 1, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    After the book, make a film and then cut an album. Then CB will be covered. (I’ll take care of the cigar). Thriller/Mystery stories always take place in certain locations, it brings the reader back. You might be onto something with your location.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 1, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      You know, Norman Mailer wrote a mystery that he set on Cape Cod (Tough Guys Don’t Dance). And he wrote and directed the film version of it, too. I read the book, which is good, but haven’t seen the film.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. cincinnatibabyhead February 1, 2017 / 9:14 pm

    You’re right. I read it a long time ago. I think Ryan O’Neal was in the film. There you go. I love novels that take place in the same location, Hiaasen, Florida. Leonard, Florida/Detroit. My Philly guy , Dexter. Why not Neil? I would recommend for you to take the plunge. (Just watched a Welsh series ‘Hinterland’, takes place in a small seaside community. Very well done and beautifully shot).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sherri Fox February 2, 2017 / 9:52 am

    I can see you having the skill & imagination to bring forth a thought provoking adult fractured fairy tale rife with life’s lessons & a bit of off beat humor. I would like a signed copy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 2, 2017 / 11:23 am

      Hi Sherri. A signed copy will be yours (if and when any of this happens).

      Like

  10. circumstance227 February 2, 2017 / 7:13 pm

    Here’s my favorite sentence in this post: “Suddenly I’ve been zapped with a giant squirt of inspiration.”
    Clearly, once you have been zapped by a squirt, you should start thinking seriously about delivery.

    Or . . .because this is blogworld, you could just keep doing what you are doing if it makes you happy.

    That is what I remember when friends suggest I do some REAL writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 2, 2017 / 8:23 pm

      It’s amazing to me how many people over the centuries have written books. Millions, probably. Maybe it isn’t so hard to do!

      Like

  11. havepaprika February 3, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    Go for it! You write so well, and your blogs are very entertaining to read. I’m at a similar stage – laughing off friends’ suggestions that I try to write a book. ” About what?” I sputter. “Oh, you’ll think of something.” they smile confidently … then waltz off to do something else entirely.

    I reckon you’re probably further on and better equipped to go in the book-scribing direction than me, but if you’re game, then so am I – why the hell not?

    Back to that plot …

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 3, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      Hi, Becky. Thanks a lot for visiting.
      There’s something intriguing about the idea of writing a book. But the actual writing would be so much work! Maybe in another lifetime . . .

      Like

  12. andrewcferguson February 5, 2017 / 2:47 pm

    Hell, no, Neil, don’t do it! Only kidding – bit of reverse psychology there.

    Only tip I can give is, if you’re enjoying it, keep on going to the next chapter and the next. If you’re not, go back to the blog. I finished correcting the proofs of my comic crime novel this morning (should be out in April) and it still made me laugh. Of course, that’s no guarantee it’ll make anyone else laugh, but we’ll see…

    Good luck, and see you on the other side, but don’t let the blog suffer – it’s way too entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 5, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      Hey, that’s really cool that you have a book coming out. Congrats.

      As for my potential book: It’s so far back on the back burner, it’s not even visible. But I’ll keep plugging away on the blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Cindy February 7, 2017 / 12:57 am

    You could start with a short story. You have it half-written already! Cod Mann and Dick Hedd are characters I want to read about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 7, 2017 / 7:27 am

      If I write the book, one additional character will be Pin Hedd (Dick’s oldest son).

      Like

    • jveeds February 11, 2017 / 11:52 am

      I believe it’s Cod Man…not Mann…though now that I think on it, Cod Mann is actually more clever and allows the narrator to suggest a literary or genealogical heritage from Thomas Mann. And I won’t even comment on Didk Hedd’s derivation.

      Like

  14. Fictionophile February 8, 2017 / 4:45 pm

    Make sure you use that photo of the fishing Shack for the cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Brian Lageose February 9, 2017 / 6:28 pm

    Me thinks the book is already written, nestled in the archives of this blog. Just a thought…

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Anne McClane February 11, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    Neil–this had me laughing out loud. Loved it. And 2 thoughts to share: you have a story there. And when you get around to writing it, count on dreck. Lots of it. But if you keep going back to it, you might see that it’s not quite dreck, maybe it’s more like a lumpy, amorphous, rock. And it just needs some shaping. And it you keep going back to it, you might see that shape coming around. And it will be something singular, and unique, and in that way, beautiful. Okay, way more than I wanted to say, but, there’s still the second thought. The quote from my writing calendar this month, from Goethe: “Dream no small dreams, for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”

    Like I said, much wordier than I intended. Can I use this as my blog post this week?

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 11, 2017 / 2:40 pm

      Hi, Anne. Thanks for all of your thoughts.
      And if you’d like to put this story on your blog, yes that would be fine.

      Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 12, 2017 / 2:57 pm

      Hi. Thanks a lot for paying a visit to this humble website. Appreciated.

      Like

  17. Aunt Beulah February 12, 2017 / 4:33 pm

    Ah hah! You’re hooked. You’re doomed. My experience tells me that first you think about writing a book, then you share your idea of writing a book with others, then you’d bette,r by God, do it! Happy writing, Neil. Let me know when and where I can buy your book, because, based on your blog, I know I’ll like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 12, 2017 / 6:07 pm

      I’ve got to tell you that a book is barely even a kernel of an idea at this point. It’s all I can do to keep producing articles at a one-per-week pace for this blog. Maybe a book will be in my future if I start eating my Wheaties.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. mariaporter1980 February 13, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    Yup, you have a book in you. Enjoyed this peace immensely, your voice just flows.

    Liked by 1 person

      • mariaporter1980 February 14, 2017 / 1:40 pm

        I am absolutely mortified. Here I am complimenting you on your writing, and I misspelled piece with peace. See, that’s why three beers should be me cut off. Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. ALAN NOTHERN February 14, 2017 / 1:18 pm

    A good plot is often about money, jealousy, ambition ; but Neil, as you write your book in one of those shacks, just don’t become like Jack Nicholson in Shining !!
    Alan

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 14, 2017 / 2:05 pm

      Hi Alan. If I write the book I think I’ll set it in Paris rather than Cape Cod. Or maybe in both locales. And I’ll work you and Martine into the plot!

      Like

  20. America On Coffee February 21, 2017 / 7:15 pm

    Yes, Cod Man, I think you’re on to something. The Book is within you. Alan is a great pal to have, seemingly bringing out your capabilities. 🙂 AOC

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 21, 2017 / 8:29 pm

      Hi, AOC. Thanks for the visit.
      You know, somehow I think the world will do just fine without a book from me. On the other hand . . .

      Liked by 1 person

      • America On Coffee February 21, 2017 / 9:45 pm

        The decision is yours. But we all have a book or more within us. May only the desiroues books having impact, come forth. Thumbs Up!

        Like

  21. grimspound February 25, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    Loved that piece, Neil! I’ve had a number of books published and the royalty checks do come, but never ‘flow’!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger February 25, 2017 / 2:54 pm

      Hi, Dianne. I’m looking for something snappy to say in response, but I can’t think of anything. It’s one of those days.
      Anyway, I thank you for reading this story. And for adding your thoughts.
      I’ll be seeing ya – – – –

      Like

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