Friday, April 24, 2009

A Friendly (if Desperate) Plea for All you Writing Experts (or Those who Enjoy Reading)

As I've mentioned before, my novel Unbreakable is set up with two narrators. I posted the first page from the prologue narrated by one of them. By the same token, I figured I should post the first page of the prologue narrated by the other main character.

I'm hoping that you'd be willing to give me feedback in terms of which is a stronger opening for a novel. Thanks in advance <3
(Roy; Boston, MA; September, 2006)

I'm sure that to some people, memories are indeed the proverbial priceless gem that can be brought out to examine and relive with positive connotations.

My memories give me nightmares for a week.

That's not precisely true, of course. It's just that virtually all the good ones gleaned over the course of thirty years occurred after I was fourteen. It’s the years before then, though, that my mind is focusing on now as I sit alone in the study of the Boston penthouse where Addie and I have lived for the past five years, wishing randomly that I was a drinker. All sources I can find confirm that nothing helps tragedy like alcohol (until the next morning, anyway), but I can’t keep myself from holding true to a promise I made when I was just a kid that I would never drink.

Addie is in our bedroom crying. She doesn’t want my comfort; I caused every one of her tears.

Today, my life was inerasably altered forever. It started out as a typical day. I'm a professional baseball player, and we flew back to Boston early this morning after a two-week road trip. Although the stretch was highly successful (especially when you consider the roller coaster reputation of the Red Sox), we were instructed to report to Fenway for extra batting practice immediately after getting off the plane from Detroit. I was home at six o'clock, toting two suitcases and a dozen red roses for Addie. Because I can't read or write (a long, complex story unto itself), Ad and I leave "audio notes" on a tape player that sits on the kitchen counter, nestled between the toaster and the can opener and as inherently necessary as those two appliances. Sure enough, there was a fresh tape in it. Arranging the roses in a glass vase, I pressed the play button.

"Hello, my shortstop in shining armor," came Adelaide's sweet voice, and I smiled without even realizing it. She just had that effect on me. "I'll be home around seven. Take a look at the newspapers on the counter. Another Gold Glove for Pentinicci?, Pentinicci Leads Sox to Fifth Victory in Six Games, Can Roy Pentinicci Make Those Who Called his Team the Dead Sox Apologize?, Roy Pentinicci Takes the Growl Out of the Tigers. I am so proud of you! I'm thinking take-out for dinner tonight. I have a feeling it's going to be one of those days. See you at seven. I'm so glad you're home, Roy, and I have some wonderful news for you. Love you."

I picked up the newspapers on the counter, bemused as always with the media's obsession with me. I was named People's "Sexiest Athlete Alive" last year, an occurrence that tickled Adelaide as much as it embarrassed me. I hadn't wanted celebrity, hadn't asked for it, but somehow or other, it had happened. Addie's brother, Christian, my closest friend since we were five years old, jokes that I was born for the spotlight, but we all know it's just teasing. My personality is unquestionably extroverted and I’ve been known to be somewhat vain about my looks (to quote Adelaide, Roy spends more time in front of the mirror than I do), but inside, there is someone to whom celebrity is impossible, unattainable, unimportant, insignificant. I stared for a long time at the head shot accompanying the article discussing my candidacy for the Gold Glove; it was unmistakably me, hat askew, go-to-hell grin on my face, but I wondered if anyone could look at that picture, see through the windows of my eyes and glimpse the demons that lurk beyond, the darkness that plagues my nights.

I had forty-five minutes before Addie was due home from her thankless yet somehow fulfilling job as a social worker for the city of Boston, so I went upstairs to unpack and shower. After ordering pizza then throwing on jeans and a T-shirt, I put on a Simon and Garfunkel CD and dozed on the couch.

Are Minorities Discouraged from Taking Upper-Level Classes?: The Elephant in the Room

As a public school teacher for sixteen years, I sometimes feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen Standards come and go (and despite the brou...