Saturday, February 15, 2014


Below is the begining section of my newest novel. I have been writing novellas and short stories, but this story is working into a longer offering. I hope those who find it, enjoy this short begining section, Peace DAP
*The Beginning*

This story begins in a small, deep southern Alabama town where everyone says they know their neighbors, but in reality these folks keep mostly to themselves. The people who live here are relying on themselves and each other and expect their neighbors to do the same. In other words, it’s perfectly fine to receive help from neighbors, but if folks rely on the government for support, they are looked at differently. It is late summer and hot. The days can reach well over one hundred degrees with the nights providing some relief from cool winds blowing from the Appalachian Mountains in the north. The mostly brick homes were built after WWII by returning soldiers. The yards and houses have been maintained over the years by those who settled in long after the war.  

This story is about Mato Crow, who currently lives in this small and small-minded community. It follows his bewildering journey to find his birth mother who is believed to live out west. Although Mato has no recollection of his first year with his biological mother he understands why he was removed from her care. His mother, Nina Crow, a full-blooded Sioux from South Dakota was fifteen when she became pregnant.  She surrendered her son at the hospital and quickly returned to her people, trying to forget about him and move on with her young life. Mato knows he was adopted and that his biological mother is an American Indian. Other than that, he knows nothing of his past or people. His parents, the ones who adopted him, have raised him within their own cultural understandings, which is a typical white, Christian, southern upbringing.

   If sex, violence or tales of human misfortune bother you, this is a story to avoid. However, it seems unclear how anyone capable of reading this story could go through life without experiencing some kind of tragedy. Who is the eighteen-plus year old human who says they have not suffered some kind of harm in their life? All humans suffer, some more than others. If you have been blessed without any trauma in your life, then yes…you are a fortunate individual. Do not fret though, harm certainly awaits you. Harm is patient and unflappable. So, the issue is not if trouble will come into your life, what matters most, is how you respond when it does. There are some harm that happen to people that can alter their core – the very essence of who they are as human beings. No amount of therapy or time can heal some wounds.

Also, there are humans that, regardless what has happened throughout their life, they would not change one tiny episode, good or bad, for fear it would have altered where they are in their current life. They realize that any harm they suffered is a blessing. Tragedy can, in fact, improve a life. Unfortunately, harm’s impact is not known until it is experienced.

Mato will experience tragedy along his path. He will also be the cause of some hardships. Again, this story is not about exposing harm for harm’s sake, but to witness Mato’s story and his reactions to these events. It is an effort of trying to understand how life’s natural trials result in many different outcomes. Do not look away when devastation approaches during this story. Nor search for blame when it arrives. Blame should not be a concern and searching for it is a waste of energy.

Who is to blame when a tsunami causes a tragedy? It could not be a human that caused such a tragic event.  Is it god or some kind of greater power?    

If god or a higher power is to blame for a tsunami and that provides some self-comfort, then so be it. When human self-will is the result of suffering, does god play a role? An out-of-control self-will is just as devastating to humans as a giant tidal wave. Our reaction to tragedy is rooted within the context of whether that tragedy is viewed as the result of god’s will or human’s self-will.

For instance if a man drowns a child, our natural response has a clear path forward – hate the man and grieve the child. If a child drowns as the result of a tsunami, our response becomes more complex. The child is easily grieved, but our other emotional reaction – anger – gets no relief. Finding and applying blame to a harmful event is like applying medicine to an injury.

Mato’s story will provide no relief when disaster happens. Sometimes self-well and god’s will are not clear when tragic events happen. And when certain events happen in Mato’s story do not look for one or the other. It might be best, if assigning blame is needed, that is if you need to apply medicine to your own wounds, to consider both god and self-will’s influence. Can one will really exist without the other?  

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