In the matter of 24 hours I’ve gotten two messages with essentially the same idea: why don’t I put an excerpt from the book in my blog every now and then? Then readers would know something of the caliber of this creation.
I think, this is a very scary thing to do. It’s like those dreams you have where you suddenly discover you don’t have any clothes on (while you’re late and looking for the classroom you can’t find). I’ve yet to have anyone read this manuscript except my family so that the girls could delete the more humiliating parts regarding themselves. But–you can’t sell a book that you’re too scared to have people read. So, with this post I present a random episode about our first hours in England, speeding west in our rental car across the English countryside:
“It’s now late afternoon, and the girls are hungry. Where we can find food, however, is a mystery; all there seems to be out here are rolling green hills with little copses and not-so-quaint-looking outbuildings. We eventually spot what looks like a tiny mall, and we pull off. A single covered walkway leads us into the center of a rectangle of stores. A sign reminds us that skateboarding is not allowed.
“The odd thing is, though, that it seems deserted. Despite its considerable size, there’s hardly a soul within its cobbled perimeter. A few people have walked in to stop off at a shuttered post office, but otherwise, nada.
“This is not funny. I’m suddenly overwhelmingly tired. Then we realize: it’s Sunday, and everything is closed. Of course! At the south end of this suddenly-huge arena a middle-aged man in a dark windbreaker appears from around the corner of the farthest building. I want to fall at his feet, weeping with hunger and despair, and beg for compassion and respite.
“Instead, Richard asks him the obvious question. ‘Hey, is there somewhere around here where you can get some food?’
“The man waves his arm vaguely in a southwesterly direction. ‘Yeah, you might try the garage over there. I think they’re still open.’
“The garage? (That’s ‘gare΄aghe’ hereabouts.) What kind of automotive repair shop has food? But at this point I don’t care who dishes it up, as long as it’s edible. But man, that archway out seems impossibly far away. I don’t feel I could make the walk all the way back. But it’s the only way out.
“I’ve begun to plod when the girls excitedly announce they’ve discovered an alternate exit quite nearby, and quite close to the garage as well. They lead us around the corner of the end building, and I see that behind it is a six-foot wall. Easy! All we have to do is scale the wall!
“I can’t believe that Richard is all for it. Somehow I picture us being apprehended by one of those until-now invisible bobbies and being held for trespassing or suspicious behavior of some sort. Wouldn’t that be the icing on this endless cake.
“But slogging through the rampant ivy I see that with a little boost from Richard, Katie is already atop the wall, and she is assisting his ascent. Hah, hah. Everyone is laughing at this crazy adventure except me. Katie and Richard have disappeared over to the other side. I’m practically delusional from fatigue, and I’m supposed to hie myself over this cement wall.
“’C’mon, Mom, I’ll help you over. Here, just stand on my hands and I’ll boost you up,’ Liz directs, linking her fingers into a sling.
“No choice. I stick my foot into her hands.
“’One, two, three!’ I throw myself at the wall as Liz puts her back into hoisting me upwards. I manage to get my elbows, then my boobs, onto the wall’s capstones. There, I’m stranded.
“‘Push her foot up!’ yells Katie from the other side, and Liz rams my leg upward. I throw it sideways atop the wall, and suddenly I’m up there. Wow, uh, it feels pretty high up here. And so, just as ungracefully as I got up, I fall awkwardly over the wall like a sack of potatoes into Richard’s fumbling arms. Meanwhile, Katie manages to get the nimbler Liz up and over.
“And there in the not-so-far distance is the ‘garage.’ For crying out loud, it’s a gas station! And—it has a little convenience store attached. With a sudden renewed vigor, we hustle over.
“Inside we find a refrigerated case with little triangular plastic boxes holding boring-looking sandwiches, except—wait a minute: smoked salmon and cream cheese with dill? Unbelievable. And it looks passably fresh. Everyone greedily picks over the sandwiches, drinks and chips. We are revitalized.”
And there you have a tiny sample of what you’ll find in this book of mine. I’m trying hard not to cringe. Please be gentle. And help me find some clothes.