First things first. Today, 8 December, is John Lennon’s 31st Jahrzeit. For a long time I used to write about it in my journals, but embarrassingly, I haven’t journaled for the last few years. However, I have begun to journal again on and off in the top-spiral notebook I bought when I was switching my writing hand from right to left and needed something to practice my handwriting in before publicly outing myself as a lefty. (Long story short, I was in the closet about the true extent of my sinistrality till this year. I kinda always knew, but I was very confused and discouraged since I grew up writing right-handed, and many people still feel handedness is determined solely by the hand you write with, no matter you do just about everything else with your other hand.)
Anyway, John has been my official favorite Beatle since I was 17. I started strongly preferring him when I was 14, but I felt I weren’t allowed to switch favorites. I’d initially favored Paul solely because of looks, but let’s be honest, that’s a rather silly reason to pick a fave rave. So I lied to myself for a few years that I had two favorites, but as Jerry Springer often says in his Final Thought, “When you claim to love both, you truly love neither.” I now have all of his studio solo albums, though George is my favorite solo Beatle. (I’m probably the only person who’ll give you three answers or say “It depends what you mean” when asked who my favorite Beatle is!)
I feel so privileged to have been allowed to share the planet with John for even a little while. That scumbag murdered him 10 days before my first birthday, so I have no memory of being alive at the same time he was, but I still feel glad we were on the same planet for that small span of time. I even wrote the parole board a letter in the fall of 2000 when I found out that dirtbag was getting its first parole hearing. I was so upset I was shaking when I saw the disgusting news on the Beatle Brunch website on the old ’93 Mac in my first dorm room at UMass, the second floor of Chadbourne, the Native American-themed floor. Thankfully, it seems this thing will be denied parole like clockwork every two years. Let’s be honest, there’d probably instantly be a revenge killing if it were ever sprung from prison.
In honor of John’s life, here are some of his solo songs. May you rest in peace in your eternal home, and may your memory be for a blessing. The world is a better place because you were in it for 40 years and two months.
So many people look so perfect on the outside, but their insides are rotten.
This song never fails to give me chills.
The last song he recorded.
I’m also taking part in the Can We Guess Your Character’s Age? Blogfest, wherein participants post the first 250 words of a completed book or WIP and invite other participants to guess the character’s age. It’s based on voice, and tests if others think the purported age matches the character’s voice and behavior. We’re not allowed to post the title or genre, and any references to age or school grade should be taken out.
I decided to use something I’ve never posted an excerpt of before, since I’ve already shared so much from the books with my three main sets of characters. It’ll be a nice change of pace to finally use an excerpt from a standalone. This is a near-total rewrite of the original opening, which I wrote back in the fall of ’92. I worked on the manuscript on and off between 1992 and I think 1995 (at most, 1996 was the latest date I worked on it), but now I think I’m ready to get back to work on finishing it and fixing it up (but only after I finish Justine Grown Up, of course).
The protagonist’s name was originally Casey, but being the big name nerd I am, I decided I wanted something a little more memorable and standout. It’s 261 words, so I wouldn’t have to stop in the middle of a paragraph.
Arcadia MacGregor wasn’t expecting her entire life to be turned upside-down as she teleported into her house after school.
Arcadia’s mother Maura had a very serious look on her face, and Arcadia’s five-greats-grandmother Stephanie was shaking her head dismissively. They both fixed Arcadia with a look as she walked past them.
Maura broke the ice. “Arcadia, I just phoned a psychic, and she said there’s going to be a war and that we must flee the continent!”
“She says this so-called psychic looked like a teenager,” Stephanie said. “I can’t believe she’s buying some teen fraud’s bogus predictions and planning to immediately leave. But I’m staying. I grew up in this home.”
“Leaving?” Arcadia asked. “But everyone we know is in St. Paul. How could you decide to leave the continent based on what some dumb phone psychic told you?”
“I already know where we’ll go,” Maura blazed on. “Ron recently wrote me a letter in which he proposed marriage, and I accepted. So we’re going to his space colony near Jupiter. As soon as he gets back from his latest astronaut mission, we’ll be married. And you know that’s also where my foster daughters Sara and Meredith live. We’ll move into their house and give them a real family.”
“Mother!” Arcadia gasped. “I’m only telling you this for your own good, and one day you’ll thank me. Don’t marry Ron! I’ll be a laughingstock if my parents get married! The 3000 Census last year said only one percent of Americans are Nuclears! And I don’t want little sisters!”