Tuesdays at Starbucks – Editing THE REASONS

I’ve been spending about an hour a week–every Tuesday–editing my 2008 Muskoka Novel Marathon novel. It’s called THE REASONS. The Reasons are a dysfunctional family going through, well, a particularly dysfunctional period. It’s a first person story told in two voices. The voices alternate with every chapter. There is Tobias Reason, who is a child trying to keep his family together and sane, and there is Maggie Reason, who does everything in her power to destroy all of Tobias’s efforts. Maggie is crazy and Tobias is trying to save her.

I thought I would share a short excerpt from Chapter two here tonight. I am at Starbucks now…going through this chapter ONCE again. Anyway, this is an excerpt from the middle of the chapter. Maggie has to face the music with Tobias after snapping.

Yesterday I removed the stuffing from the living room couch. It was just a pull in the fabric to begin with, a tiny thread that caught my eye. Part of me screamed, don’t touch it! But I had to. My compulsion to rip that bastard apart, and take out its lungs, won over.

As the air around me filled with the ancient exhaust of those crumbling couch guts—as I breathed it in and it became a part of me—I knew I had gone too far. My hands worked without me, shredding and tearing and pulling—and screaming. If hands can scream. I tasted the staleness of what I released into the air and felt the torture inflicted on my hands as I did it. But I couldn’t leave it alone. I could not stop tearing it apart.

There was nothing left but material, a wood frame and a roomful of shredded foam by the time Tobias came home. I see now that it was a crazy thing to do. Christ, I saw it then. But knowing crazy and choosing not to do crazy are two entirely different animals.

“What the fuck is going on here?”

This novel is almost ready for submission. I have to stop polishing it! I get into these cycles where I can’t leave anything alone. My spidey-senses are telling me that it’s time to let this one go.

Until Next Tuesday, Starbucks!

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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