Don’t look for me in this blurry picture. I’m not there.
The closest I came to playing water polo was joining my best friend in holding our breaths and hiding out underwater when the coach, during the required physical education period, began pulling boys out of the pool to go off the high dive. I surfaced after one hideout submersion to look up into his smiling face staring down at me. We had known he was getting close to us, in his stroll around the pool deck looking for who hadn’t gone off the high dive yet: that’s why we’d dropped under. My best friend popped up a second after I did, looked at me and said, “Is he gone yet?” No, my pal through the best and worst of high school, he has not gone yet.
“Gone yet?” A question to ask about everything in life that we fear or that makes us uncomfortable. The answer is always no, at least in the sense that when”he” is gone, we’ll notice something else threatening, imaginary or real.
The memory of swimming in high school physical education sparked the germ of my short story, “The Yearbook.” The boy in the story played water polo and otherwise has little in common with any of the boys in the pictures above or below.
Writers are told we need to make ourselves a “brand.” Yet my first novel, to be published September 20, is a suspense mystery and will be followed within six months by a second book that I term “a novel with a sense of humor.” Complex characters and complicated plots will be my brand, I have decided, whether the book be general fiction or mystery. I read both, so I write both.
If you haven’t read “The Yearbook,” I offer it as a sample of my “brand.” You may go to it here: Mobius: The Journal of Social Change.