Another Excerpt and the Writing Process..Cleveland

As I had mentioned in my earlier post, most of my writing happened during the hours of 3 am and 6 am. For some reason, I am the kind of person that can wake up at 3 am and start my day. It may have been because for 10 years, while I was living in NYC , I played saxaphone in a blues band, the Broken Hearted Blues Band. Our gigs would end around 2 AM and I would have to be up early, usually around 6, and get ready to work my photography job ( corporate photography). It wasn’t so bad, since corporate photography paid my rent. Rent, one of the biggest motivators when you live in NYC. Over the years ,I have developed this Pavlov’s conditional response to be alert at any hour and avoid homelessness.

You are probably wandering why I have included this pencil drawing of the Pulitzer Prize writer Alice Walker. Well, she is in my novel, as are other famous people, who I have actually spent some time. So I wanted to include the excerpt from my novel Cleveland of when I met Alice at her cabin in Northern California to end this post…. PS..This is a second draft and I am waiting to get the final draft back from my editor Peter…who is furious at me ..that is another story ….

My editor, Peter, always told me to just write, ” don’t worry about grammar and spelling, just write the story down. This is one of the mantras I used while writing. I often wonder if Peter regrets giving me the advice, now that he has to edit my work. It is liberating and at times joyful to watch the word appear as the story takes shape. Unlike most writers, I don’t throw away any drafts. The story is so clear in my mind, that the words flow, perhaps not grammatically. I have read that when you begin writing a novel know the ending and I thought I did. I did know the ending up until I finished the novel. Once, I finished the novel, I felt the ending was NOT right. So, I changed the ending…and feel I nailed and so does my editor. It was nice to get a note from him that ” you really pulled it together, I even got choked up at the end….but I am getting ahead of myself.

the writer Alice Walker

Excerpt #2 Alice Walker…a pivotal moment..

To set you up..Sam has been working for Izzy for a while and traveled to California to assist Izzy on a shoot for Vanity Way.. Important…this is second draft and may need some changes but there ya go…enjoy ….

I handed Izzy the camera and she continues to talk to Alice. The conversation between Izzy and Alice becomes sparse and turns into a few directorial comments by Izzy before she announces, “we’re done.” Izzy hands me the camera and says “we’ll leave as soon as you pack up, “and walks back into the cabin with Alice.  It’s dusk and quiet again. I think to myself “that was a short session.” As I pack up the gear I look around at the serene landscape and imagine my father hiding behind a tree, trying to not be seen by the Nazi’s that are pursuing him.  I imagine if this were Poland 1939, the woods would be full of terrified Jews trying to survive the wrath of Hitler. My father being one of them. I am not sure why my thoughts move in that morbid direction in such a safe and faraway place in a different time. Although I am second generation of the Holocaust survivor and never experienced the horrors of my father, I can never feel complacent in an apparently safe place. Somehow, I have inherited my father’s memories without even knowing the details. 

Izzy and Alice come out the cabin and Alice approaches me to say goodbye. I walk up to her to shake her hand. She holds my hand with both of her hands and looks me the eye. “We all have a pain and conflict inside us, I write about it to make some sense out something I can’t comprehend and try to soften the hurt. I hope you can find a way to reconcile yours. “I am bewildered by her comment and stumble to say, “thank you.”   As I walk away, I wonder if she was reading my thoughts, was the expression on my face? How did she know? On the drive down the mountain pass, I finally tell Izzy about Alice’s comments. Izzy starts laughing. “She wanted to know a little about you, I guess she is always looking for new characters for her novels. I told her you were thinking of getting a sex chance and were conflicted about your sexual identity,” Izzy said laughing. “Why would you even think that!” I said incredulously. “It was the first thing that came to my mind, and, well I thought it was funny.” I sank back into my seat and thought about it for a while and stated chuckling. So much for mindreading. 

from the Novel Cleveland ©SHBegleiter

Thanks for reading and stay tune for more stories about the creation of my novel ” Cleveland”…subscribe to receive personal notices ….Enjoy you weekend.

Steven