Turtle Bay at dawn
A consulting job for the Honolulu’s Rapid Rail System was keeping me busy, and I didn’t have a lot of time for writing. But I couldn’t get the story line out of my mind and kept toying with. Elizabeth noticed I was getting a little cranky and decided we both needed to get away for the long weekend and decompress.
We drove up to the North Shore on Friday afternoon and checked into the Turtle Bay Resort. Elizabeth set up at the pool overlooking the ocean with a good book and a bottle of sun tan lotion. I rented a long board from one of the beach boy and paddled out into the surf line and jockeyed with a dozen locals for a prime take off spot. I caught a dozen good waves and earned a little respect from the locals, who grudgingly accepted me as an old guy who had earned his stripes.
The next morning Elizabeth and I enjoyed an eighty-dollar brunch of mimosas, waffles, ham and eggs, lox and bagels, and coffee. After which, I burped, dusted myself off, grabbed my laptop and found a spot in the shade by the pool where I took a deep breath and began anew. I reviewed a couple of earlier half-hearted attempts at outlining my story and my London draft and came up with a cohesive beginning and middle and ending to the story. With this roadmap in place, I plunged into my second draft. The story would now open with a determined thirteen-year-old, Jake Winston, manipulating his abusive father into sending him away to a Catholic Seminary, a boarding school for future priests. Although he had no intention of becoming a priest, this was his only viable option to escape the abuse at home. The middle of the story would basically be an expos`e of life in a Seminary through the eyes of a rambunctious teenager There would be some adventure, lots of hijinks, disobedience, sophomoric pranks and lots of laughs. Moments of solemnity, pomp and ceremony and spirituality would dance though the story. There would be comrades, villains, challenges and solutions, fear and joy as Jake pursued his childhood dream of becoming a world-class builder. The story would conclude with Jake’s entry into the world of big time construction. This new and expanded story line got me excited. Now I had a bigger stage, and an opportunity to develop a deeper story line. All in all, it would be a lighthearted fast moving read. I was thinking a slim book; maybe a hundred pages, thirty or forty thousand words would be appropriate. I named the draft, ”Jake, The Seminarian.”
Although I was making some progress with the story line, I was embarrassed by my lack of understanding and interest in the basic elements of grammar and punctuation, but it was evident I needed to master it to pursue my writing adventure. I got on the net and tried to learn the basics, but I really didn’t get it and I abandoned that pain in the ass. My fall back was my amateur crew of reader/editors. I relied on them to catch the mistakes and clumsy sentences that Word’s spellcheck and I missed. I knew this wasn’t going to get it long term, so I bought some software, Scrivener and Grammarly, which claimed to do this for me. Those programs were a huge help, but they missed a lot of comma errors. As a contractor, my computer skills, Word and Excel basic features, were adequate, but tools, formatting, tabs and features like that were totally foreign to me. When I learned to format a page, and manipulate the pesky tabs, I was actually please with myself.
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